By the time that you read this, our hotly contested Kendall County elections cycle should be over (March 6).
I obviously can’t comment as to who won (as I’m writing this in mid-February), but the entire process of elections in this town is one that makes me batty. I shouldn’t say “process” as that’s not the issue, but the engagement of the populace is more than a little bit of a head-scratcher. We are what I would call an “angry” town in that we like to bitch. A LOT. About damn near everything. From the low-hanging fruit of “GROWTH” and “TRAFFIC” to things such as City Council legal issues, financing, taxes, and water. If there’s a topic, the collective population of this county is always up for a good old fashioned slug-of-words either online, in the paper, or even in person.
What perplexes me is that these topics that are of such debate and vitriol in our town are not handled in the one way that they can actually be handled: IN THE VOTING BOOTH.
Last year, Mad Money Mike $chultz was up for re-election. He got a terribly unprepared opponent, but $chultz was wildly unpopular for his handling of several issues, not the least of which is his railroad-job that he did on the City Hall Project. Again, his opponent was a mess but hey, at least he had an opponent. So with the opportunity to finally oust him from his throne, a jaw-dropping 772 people showed up to vote for the mayoral election. The last time that I licked my finger and put it up in the air, Boerne had approximately 14,000 residents. 772 of them voted.
772 people out of 14,000. Sigh.
Oh, so the turnout was pathetic because both candidates were horrible? Well, in 2016 we had the vote for the school bond. Turnout: 14%. In 2015, turnout: 17% 2014: 25% And on and on.
I chuckled at our District Judge debate when our friends at the Kendall County Republican Club patted each other on the ass that there hadn’t been a Democratic nominee in Kendall County since they chased off the last Comanche, and yet, the voting turnout numbers speak for themselves. I mean, let’s all high-five that we’re a bunch of gun-toting, Bible thumping Freedom Fighters with our beloved guns tucked securely in our truck consoles…and yet the population of our town can’t be bothered to take 7 minutes and exercise the ONE right that allows them a very real voice in how our town is governed.
In my younger days, it would make me mad. I mean, I fought in The War. I shot Nazi bastards so that my family could enjoy a few things, one of those being the honor of living under this democracy. As I’ve gotten older, I suppose I’ve become the crotchety old guy that is a bit apathetic and simply expects the younger generations to yawn at the notion of civic duty while surfing their phones. However, I suppose I’ll never get comfortable with the amount of BITCHING that goes on in this town…when people can’t be bothered to speak in the voting booth.
As with any town, you have a few factions of people: Those happy with growth. Those that hate growth. Hardcore Republican “Obama is the Devil” types, and then the free-spirited Mother Earth liberal types. Rich. Poor. High class and white trash. We’ve got them all here in town, too. Apparently, we also have an extremely large group of all these people that like to go on Facebook, scream like children about some great injustice in our town, and then turn on Oprah when it’s time to vote.
We’ll see how it all turns out. But no matter how it turns out, if you couldn’t be bothered to participate, I will expect you to sit quietly in the corner for the next few years until the next election and have very, very little say. After all, you HAVE a say in things, but only if you exercise that right.
Many people, far greater than you, died to ensure that right. Honor them.