Among other things, one important activity our board engaged in last week was the Illinois Ag Legislative Roundtable’s Candidate Forum. We heard from Governor Pat Quinn, his opponent Representative Bill Brady, Congressman Mark Kirk who is running for Senate and his opponent and current Treasurer of the IL Alexi Giannoulias.
It really was a great night. The weather was lovely as we listened to them from the middle of a cornfield in McLean County and the food was good. Any farmer knows that the quality of a meeting can be partially judged by the food, right?
But this post isn’t really about the candidates. Nor is it about the food. It’s really about just plain voting.
I came home from the Candidate Forum and I was energized. Actually, I was less energized and more motivated. The candidates probably don’t really inspire me as much as they motivate me to want to control government spending. Will any of our candidates do that? I’m not sure … but the fact remains that I’m going to vote simply because I want someone that might
control spending to get into office.
And as motivated as I was, as I spoke to my neighbor, she was equally unmotivated. She doesn’t care. She doesn’t think her vote matters. She believes that all the candidates on every side of the aisle are biased and uncaring about the American/Illinois public. She believes that they are all seeking election for the wrong reasons.
She can’t find a candidate that she can believe in. She can’t find a candidate that she mostly agrees with and she doesn’t understand how she can prioritize to just one topic and vote according to candidate positions on that topic.
I’m sure I can find fifty other people in the span of the next fifteen minutes that agree with her.
In the chronicals of our history I’m sure there are also millions and millions of letters, articles, stories that aim to inspire people to vote. Will I do any better than any of those? Likely not, but I can’t ignore it all the same.
Perhaps the problem with our country is not so much the politicians as it is the plain old citizens – the ones that are uninspired, apathetic, and too busy to care or notice what’s happening. Perhaps the problem with our state is that its citizens aren’t demanding more accountability, more access, and more information. Perhaps the problem with our democracy isn’t the vote, but the voters themselves.
To paraphase something Treasurer Giannoulias said in his address, things in Washington aren’t going to change until elected officials quit serving their party and themselves and recognize that they are serving the American public.
Perhaps things in Washington (and Illinois!) aren’t going to change until each and every ordinary citizen does exactly the same.
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Director