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but since you asked...
About Election Apathy

An oldie from October 28, 1982 in the Newkirk (Ok) Herald Journal, but someone recently dug it out of their clip file and sent it back to me. Enjoy... -RWL

You know what? This town is up to its ears in apathy. We got 2,483 people in town and when we hold an election, we get 139 of them out to vote.

That's about .05%.

Best we ever got was 32% when 800 voted in a hot election for dogcatcher or something... Counting the three guys who came in looking for slot machines, and the lady who thought it was bingo night. Woulda been 801 except the down and outter from outta town was just looking for a cheap bunk at the Y anyway.

Our much maligned city fathers catch hell from everyone about the bad roads, crummy water, and high utility rates. So they try to get some dole money from the fererallies to rebuild this stuff without drowning you in water bills, and what happens?

Nobody shows at the public hearings. Big cigar smoking mucy-mucks come down from heaven to hear your pleas for help, and nobody shows up. Nobody has showed up at any public hearing that has been called in the past 5 years on anything. But boy, do you yell when the water turns yucky and the sewer backs up and streets go to pot and the juice browns out yer microwave. Complaining can be done from an easychair without putting your beer down.

Chamber of Commerce has been trying, but they haven't yet found an efficient way to move lifeless bodies. They have a few spunky souls who do all the work while everybody else complains about the dues. They've been trying to get some input from the rest of town about who should be this year's "Citizen of the year." One nominee so far. Apparently nobody else in town has done anything worthwhile all year long.

They got a Circus coming to town next Monday, and I 'spose unless an elephant falls on you, you'll probably stay home watching reruns of Canadian football and complain about never having anything to do in Newkirk.

Monday, the stock market crashed and burned. Half the town is unemployed. Business is in the middle of the worst recession since the Big D in the 30s. To hear Dan Rather tell it, half the country is starving, and the other half is already dead because their welfare ran out. Well, Dan, things ain't that rough in this town. you couldn't get folks here to chase a $500.00 bill down the street.

Fact is, the merchants got together and put up a $500.00 shopping spree for some lucky winner in a simple game now appearing in the paper each week, and what happens? Six, count 'em...1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, people bother to enter. Out of 1,500 families who buy this rag each week. You're either incredibly well-off and don't need a few extra bucks or so incredibly lazy it's amazing.

Most publishers would squirm a bit before printing a tirade that is bound to make most all his subscribers mad. I thought about that. But if enough of you get steamed up enough to do something... anything... even run me out of town, it'd be a sign of life. I had a job when I found this one.

Considering yer past record, I think it's safe to say there will be 2,483 folks in town 10 or 20 years from now, still complaining about their lousy government, their poor streets, their sorry drinking water, their high utility rates, and their grumpy publisher. -RWL


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