09/14/06 — A new spark: Wouldn’t same level of interest in voting be refreshing?

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A new spark: Wouldn’t same level of interest in voting be refreshing?

Wouldn’t it be great if the same kind of excitement that is generated by a new season of “Dancing with the Stars,” “Big Brother” or “Survivor” could be translated to the upcoming primary or even the next presidential election?

Imagine for a moment, a voting public that actually voted in the numbers that decided this week’s winner of “Rockstar: Supernova” or if the talk around the water cooler was about the future of Iraq and health care instead of which suitor Meredith Gray will pick when the new season of “Gray’s Anatomy” opens next week.

Maybe rather than push voter registration and education, we should format elections a little differently. Perhaps if the Republican and Democratic candidates were placed on a deserted island with nothing to eat and only their wiles to survive, we might get more Americans interested in who ends up in the Oval Office.

Hmmm. It’s a thought, isn’t it?

Some of the problems this nation faces are multiplied by the fact that there are so many people who do not understand that their vote counts — and that it is critical that they understand the issues and concerns facing this nation. Too many people vote blindly — if they cast their ballots at all — rather than really examining what parties and candidates stand for.

With more people watching, listening and reading about the issues that matter in this country, we would have a better chance of getting policies that work and getting rid of politicians who don’t.

And to do that, we really have to do more than just register people to vote. We need to get them interested in becoming educated voters.

It is discouraging to see the number of people on national talk shows who truly do not know, still, who runs this country. The recent finding that more people know the names of the Seven Dwarfs than those of the members of the U.S. Supreme Court is both funny and disturbing.

The future of this country really depends on those who live here. We will decide, ultimately, who will be allowed in and who can stay. We will pick where we go next in Iraq and how much money should be spent where.

And we will do all of that with a check in a ballot box.

So, encourage everyone you know to register to vote, but also push them to become informed voters.

And don’t discard that “Survivor” idea for the presidential election, just yet.

Published in Editorials on September 14, 2006 11:13 AM