Shelter Island Reporter Editorial

Foundations
On November 6, voters who are inclined to cast their ballots will go to the polls. Many thousands won’t bother to vote. There are many excuses people put up for not bothering to vote, but they are just that, excuses. In this democracy, the right to vote is the foundation of everything. Not to vote is to self-censor, to say you are a nobody and don’t care who runs the machinery of government and how your hard-earned money is spent.

Efforts around the country to suppress the vote are an affront to the democracy and constitutional system hammered out in Philadelphia in the aftermath of the successful revolution against the British. Read about what is currently transpiring in the state of Georgia to potentially disqualify thousands of voters, or similar efforts in some Great Plains states challenging the ability of Native Americans – the very first Americans – to cast ballots. The side doing this obviously doesn’t trust these voters to cast ballots for them, hence they want them disqualified.

Every single vote counts enormously. The presidential election of 2016 was decided by less than 80,000 votes cast in three key Electoral College states — Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

More people go to a football game on Sunday in a typical NFL stadium.

At every election cycle, we at the Times Review Media Group newspapers weigh what – and when – to publish, stories, letters to the editor and guest columns that are strongly for one side or the other. In the interest of fairness to both sides, we have cut off these kinds of stories as the election draws near.

This decision has bothered some people who want their views published now. We want their voices in our newspapers, too, but we want to be fair and balanced going about that task, with just days to go before November 6.

We’re in the midst of an extraordinarily bitter time in our country’s history. Some politicians are denounced when they venture into a public space. Some are insulted out of restaurants and are subject to death threats. Journalists are labeled America’s true enemies. The tenure of the time is: I don’t simply disagree with you, I hate your guts.

That kind of talk is un-American. This is not what our revolution brought forth. This is not what the Civil War – a war to erase the stain of slavery – was fought for. This is not what tens of thousands of Americans who landed at Normandy on June 6, 1944, fought and died for.

They fought for something big, really big. We are just rolling in the mud now, ready to pounce on each other, unsure of who we are and what we represent.

So what is the answer?

This is only a partial answer, but it’s an important one: Get to your voting location on November 6 and vote. Don’t sit it out.

Civil discourse will not soon return to America. But, perhaps, long lines at the voting sites will show the world what we believe in.

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