Our Editorial Voice: Our Civic Duty as Americans
The recent announcement by District 19 Congressman Randy Neugebauer (R) has served as the starting whistle, so to speak, in local political races which will directly impact Lubbock city and county residents; along with other rural areas within the District 19 boundaries.
For example, Mr. Neugebauer’s retirement will create an opportunity for Lubbock residents to elect a new Mayor who is not an incumbent mayor. As we report in our front page story, Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson has already announced that he will run for the District 19 seat.
And it might open up the District 1 seat, as District 1 Councilman Victor Hernandez has expressed an interest in possibly running for the Mayor’s seat. If that scenario plays out, Lubbock’s 2 Hispanic majority districts will be open seats, with no incumbent candidates, since District 2 Councilman Floyd Price has previously announced that he will not seek reelection.
In addition to that, Lubbock County District 3, another majority Hispanic District, will be coming up for reelection in 2016. Current District 3 County Commissioner, Lorenzo “Bubba” Sedeno, has already indicated that he will seek reelection.
All in all, this upcoming 2016 (which is not that far away) with Party Primary elections in March, city elections in May and county, congressional, state and a presidential election in November, will create many opportunities to keep voters engaged.
Or at least that is what we hope for.
Elections are shaped and won by many factors. Oftentimes voters feel that elections are no longer fair and many may view elections as unfairly balanced toward incumbents or those candidates with the most money. Combine that with efforts to undermine the right to vote through voter ID legislation and you come up with “the skeptical non-voter”.
Although there is some truth to the above assumptions, elections still come down to which candidate receives the most votes. A candidate can spend millions of dollars versus an opponent who spends thousands. And if the voters vote in greater numbers for the candidate who spent thousands as opposed to millions, that candidate will win.
Often times though, we allow ourselves to be swayed by slick campaign literature and political rhetoric which sounds good but means nothing. We cannot allow ourselves to be influenced by the political noise.
Rather we should make a concentrated effort to inform ourselves about the issues and the candidates. Then, and only then, can we make an intelligent choice as who to cast our vote for.
Voters should make a commitment now to keep a close watch on candidates and their campaigns to see which one best serves their needs. Whatever your political affiliation is, Democrat, Republican, Independent, or Libertarian, or have no affiliation, we think it it is incumbent on each and every eligible voter to actively participate in the political process.
We don’t blame you if you have lost interest or faith in the political system. We feel that way too sometimes.
But, the question we need to ask ourselves is this, “how will my decision to participate or not, impact my children, my immediate and extended family; and even my friends”?
If we really care about our country and city, then we must participate. If we care about income inequality, about voting rights, about immigration policy, the education of our children and grandchildren, and a host of other issues facing our country, then it becomes imperative for us to participate in the process. We can do so by attending campaign events, joining political organizations, informing ourselves about the candidates, looking beyond the political noise on television networks that have a political agenda; and ultimately going to vote.
And encouraging our family members, our neighbors, and other eligible voters we know to go out and vote also.
Otherwise, what kind of example are we setting for our children?
What can we expect of our children and their children and future generations of voters if we don’t set a good example of what it means to be a civic minded, responsible, contributing citizen.
We won’t set a very good example will we?
And we will never overcome the labels that are placed upon us by others, the main one being, Hispanics don’t vote anyway, or Hispanics don’t care enough to vote. We all have to admit that Hispanic voter turnout has been consistently lower than the number of both registered voters and eligible voters; especially in Lubbock city and county.
It is our sincere belief, and politicians know this, that if every eligible Lubbock County and surrounding area Hispanic voter voted in for example the District 19 election, that Hispanic vote would be the main factor in determining the outcome. Of course, that assumes that all other voting blocs remain at previously average turnout levels. But even in a high turnout election, Hispanics would still be in a position to determine the winner.
Now that is real political power.
If we continue the trend of not voting though, especially here in Lubbock and the surrounding communities, we wind up with the possibility that the person elected in any race which directly impacts us may turn a deaf ear to the needs of the Hispanic community.
And having had enough of that already, why would we want more?
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