During the early evening hours of October 8, the citizens of Wake County were informed that the $810 million school bond referendum was passed. This means that 16 new schools would be built in the next few years, and six schools would be renovated. Money would also be spent on technology in an effort to properly prepare our public school students for the myriad challenges they will face in an ever increasing age of global competition. That is the good news.
The not-so-good news is that we set a lousy example for our children. Just over 15% of the registered voters of Wake County went to the polls. What does this say about our true commitment to civic responsibility? Ever since the early days of American education teachers have taught their students that good citizenship goes hand-in-hand with voting. So, on the one hand the message we sent our children on October 8 is that Wake County values education and it wants them to attend safe, state-of-the-art schools, with the most current technology. On the other hand, we let them know that only 1 out of 6.5 registered voters thought this issue was important and were willing to take a few minutes out of their daily schedules in order to vote.
It is sad to think that low voter turnout is the norm, rather than the exception, throughout America - even during national elections. Unfortunately, the damage goes far beyond the large majority's failure to exercise its fundamental right to be heard; it also shows hypocrisy, and it sets a bad example for the very children who need to know that our democratic form of government is predicated on the participation of its citizens. Elections should not be won or lost on the basis of who can get the most people to the polls. It should be determined by everyone's free exercise of a fundamental right. Our children need to know that all of us, not just a small minority who take the time to vote, care about their education.