Politics not inspiring, but citizens still need to vote

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, November 1, 2006

As the 2007 general election approaches, neither political partynationally is inspiring great confidence, and Mississippi’scongressional contests are little more than an afterthought in thegrand scheme of deciding who will help shape the country’s futurefor at least the next two years.

In pursuit of votes, Republicans have abandoned their fiscalconservative roots and are on par with Democrats in their abilityto throw money at pork projects.

Of greater significance in the GOP meltdown is the culture ofcorruption label being bandied about in the wake of scandalsinvolving disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former Florida Rep.Mark Foley. And the sectarian violence in Iraq is not scoring anypoints with back-home voters, whose sons and daughters are caughtin the middle of the insurgent bloodshed.

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As voters ponder whether they want to stay the course and keepthe GOP in control of Congress, Democrats are taking every shotthey can in hopes of finally sinking the wounded Republican ship.In doing so, the minority party is happily forecasting itspriorities should it be returned to majority status.

Pledges from Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the likely new Speaker of Houseshould Democrats win, to raise taxes and discussions of timetablesto bring the troops home from Iraq do not ensure a sense of smoothsailing and happy times under a new Democrat regime. While much ofthe mainstream media missed it, Democratic U.S. Sen. Harry Reidappears to have some accounting issues of his own over a land dealfrom a few years ago.

And what role will Mississippi play in the election intrigue?Not much, it seems, as all the state’s congressional incumbentsappear headed for easy re-election.

In contests on area Nov. 7 ballots, Democratic state Rep. ErikFleming is tilting at a Republican windmill otherwise known as U.S.Sen. Trent Lott. In House races, Republican Tchula Mayor YvonneBrown is pursuing similar futility against Second District U.S.Rep. Bennie Thompson, and Third District U.S. Rep. Chip Pickeringdoesn’t even have a Democratic opponent.

Between the political vitriol spewing from Washington and theassumption of forgone congressional contest conclusions, voters maywant to stay home on election day. That cannot and should not beallowed to happen.

Voters have impact on local elections

Area and state judicial contests – including a Court of Appealsrace featuring Judge Ed Patten of Lincoln and Copiah counties – arealso on the ballot.

These courts and who presides over them play crucial roles inthe dispensing of justice in the state. Voters may never appear inany of these courts, but the decisions made in them can have agreat impact on citizens’ lives.

Decisions affecting school children are also important, and somelocal voters on Nov. 7 will have a say in who sits on the LincolnCounty School Board. In the lone contested race, incumbent JohnnyHart is being challenged by Stacey Newell for the chance torepresent the Loyd Star-Enterprise area on the board.

Lincoln County voters’ voices may be soft nationally, but theycan still be heard strongly in state and local contests. Beforenext week’s elections, we encourage voters to learn about thecandidates, consider their positions and then go vote on Nov.7.