EDITORIAL: Democracy works when we all join in

Early voting Saturday at the downtown Schenectady library. Credit: Peter R. Barber

Early voting Saturday at the downtown Schenectady library. Credit: Peter R. Barber

Categories: Editorial, Opinion

Feels good, doesn’t it?

This whole democracy thing.

Voting. Debating. Being interested in the outcome. This is what it’s all about.

And while we might not all be able to see it clearly today, it’s what’s going to make our country, our state and our local communities better places to live.

It’s positive because we see people caring enough to engage one another in conversations about the issues that matter to them. Maybe they were not always pleasant conversations. But it’s important to know what others think. It’s important to question others’ beliefs and to question our own. That’s how we make progress.

Last month, The Gazette published 253 of your letters to the editor, more than any month in recent memory. And with more than 1,900 letters published so far this year, we’ve already surpassed our biggest year — last year.

That’s democracy.

Speaking of democracy, if you’re one of the million-plus New Yorkers who filled out your absentee ballot and mailed it in or dropped it off, you have to feel good about that.

If you’re one of the more than 2 million New Yorkers who stood in line to vote during the nine-day early voting period, you felt good about that. You knew it was worth your time and inconvenience, otherwise you would have stayed home.

And if you’re planning to vote today, either in person or by dropping your ballot at a polling place or Board of Elections (by 9 p.m.), or at the post office (They must have today’s postmark.), you’re going to feel good about it, too.

Not only are New Yorkers helping elect a president this year, they’re helping shape the future of Congress and the state Legislature. Many New Yorkers this year are also electing judges, coroners, library trustees and other local officials, as well as deciding on ballot propositions.

Your vote will shape government operations, government spending and taxes for decades.

Remember that fact when village elections come up in March, and when school elections come up in May, and during any special elections throughout the year, and during next year’s political primaries and the general election, when many local government seats will be filled.

Don’t let it end with this year. Do it again next year, and every year after that.

It matters. You know it. You felt it.

It’s our lives. It’s our democracy. And it works best when we all join in.

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