The loneliest place in much of Georgia on Tuesday was the local polling place. For that we should all be ashamed.
Forsyth County certainly was no exception. Asked to participate in the process that helps determine the fate of county, state and national government, more than 70,000 registered Forsyth voters chose to do something else. The 14,000 who bothered to cast their ballots represented less than 17 percent of those eligible to do so.
Shame on those who rant and rave for months at a time about the lack of public involvement in government school decisions, then refuse to participate in the most fundamental educational decision of all — the election of school board members.
Shame on those whose wails can be heard each year when tax notices are due for payment, but who can’t find the time to cast a ballot for the very office holders responsible for setting taxes.
Shame on those who ridicule law enforcement and the courts, but can’t find the time to vote for a sheriff candidate or Clerk of the Courts.
Shame on those who curse and scream about failed transportation systems, yet failed to make it to the polls to elect the very people who can do something about the problem.
Shame on those who criticize the state government for a host of perceived failures, yet couldn’t take the time to vote for state legislators.
Shame on those who fear the nation’s direction in Iraq, its shaky economy, its immigration policies, but had no interest in voting for U.S. senators.
Shame on those who think voting in November’s presidential election is proof of their involvement in making the system work, and who can’t be bothered with decision-making at a lower governmental level.
Shame on us all for accepting such overwhelming apathy as excusable, and for not ostracizing those who can’t be bothered to participate in our republican form of government.
Around the world there are people willing to risk their lives for the opportunity to participate in an open election, while here at home the flimsiest of excuses for not doing so is reason enough.
There will be a time when historians look back upon this great experiment in Constitutional government and bemoan what might have been had the people understood the privileges they were given and chose to fritter away.
And that truly will be a shame.