By Tom Ehrich
Much is at stake in this year's mid-term elections, selecting all 435 US Representatives, one-third of the Senate, and many state and local officials.
First, a low voter turnout would be disheartening. If people get the government they vote for, then not voting at all distorts the outcome. The stay-at-home party can't be read, can't be responded to, or taken seriously.
The subtext of recent events in Ferguson, MO, other than the continuing tragedy of racism, was that African-Americans haven't been voting there, and the result has been a white government employing a white police force.
Second, a do-nothing Congress must be called to account. Trying to undermine a president and selling out the nation to get themselves re-elected aren't acts of governance. They are a mockery of legislative duty.
Third, this has been a year of violence and systematic corruption in our nation. While elections don't by themselves guarantee tranquility or civic-mindedness, we need the best possible people responding to violence and corruption. Two more years of dysfunction in Congress and meanness in state capitols won't stem the dismal tide.
Fourth, the world has grown more dangerous. We need wisdom in office, not ideological fervor. We need statesmen, not partisan hacks. We need people who know how to work together and to compromise.
Fifth, whatever economic theories you favor, by any measure the US economy is struggling and people are suffering from unemployment, subpar wages, lack of opportunities, and anger over perceived unfairness. If we slide farther into oligarchy, the entire nation will pay a stiff penalty in further inequities and further inefficiencies in the marketplace.
Finally, some legislators are itching to undo Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, and certain basic regulatory practices that rein in irresponsible banks, polluters, and monopolists.
If this is what the voters want, then fine. Majority rules. But in the absence of voters' voices being raised at the polls, those serving the rich can claim their actions are helpful to all, not just to their patrons.