Picture a packed Citizens Bank Park with only the people in the front rows actually paying attention to the game even though everybody paid a nice buck to get in.
On Nov. 5, there was a comparably, albeit predictably, goofy event here in Philly. There was an election and only about one in 10 registered voters paid any attention to it.
Yeah, this is about last week’s marginal turnout, but relax, we’re not going to complain about ignorance or apathy, or talk about civic duty or patriotism. Yawn.
That would be preaching, and you get preached at so much you stopped hearing it decades ago. No, this is name-calling.
You’re worse than see-through. You’re invisible.
If you can’t bother to be seen on election day, nobody’s going to look your way any other day.
There is more to elections than just picking the winners. Elections are about being there — year after year — and being counted as being there.
The only people officeholders really see are the people who go to the polls. They’re the only ones who matter to them. It’s not so much how they voted; it’s that they showed up. They can’t be ignored; at least, not easily.
The tax man, on the other hand, sees everybody who’s got something to tax, and he doesn’t care about anything but your money. Your tax dollars are your tickets to live in Philly, and the tickets aren’t cheap. You should be getting more out of the game.
This city never has enough resources to go around. Typically, that means the neighborhoods with the strongest voter turnouts are going to get bigger slices of the always shrinking civic pie just like the special-interest groups that make the largest political contributions are. They’re seen and get seen to, and, yes, none of that is ever going to be fair.
Want more cops rolling down your streets and showing up sooner than two hours after you called? Want a nurse in your kids’ school? Want stricter zoning enforcement on your block so flophouses can’t just open up and stay open? Want more computers in your local library branch?
To get a shot at any of that, you have to matter. You have to be there on election day. You always have to be there on every election day.
The next one will be in the spring. It’s your chance to be seen. ••