September 19, 1997 in City

Know-Nothings Add Nothing Worthwhile Perverse Contribution People Too Lazy Or Too Uninformed To Vote Should Stay Home.

By The Spokesman-Review

The city of Spokane routinely gets worked up about some trifle.

If the locals aren’t wringing their hands because they think their town’s inferior to Seattle, they’re fretting about the Lilac City’s name. Should it be Spokane or Spokane Falls? Who cares?

Now, civic leaders and opinion-makers are flogging themselves for the miserable election turnout Tuesday. Twenty percent. Woe is us. The end is near.

KXLY radio talk host Mike Fitzsimmons sounded so despondent Wednesday that co-workers probably were worried he’d throw himself into the falls. At one point in his afternoon broadcast, he blasted a caller named “Charlie” who didn’t think the election was important enough to walk 15 blocks to vote.

Well, forget that. We’re better off when the Charlies of this nation vent by calling talking heads rather than voting. People who are too lazy or too uninformed to vote should stay home. That magnifies the value of the votes cast by citizens who search out the issues and responsibly exercise this precious right.

In fact, most people shouldn’t be allowed within 300 feet of the polls on election day. The majority don’t have a clue about what’s going on. President Clinton’s re-election proved that - as does a poll conducted for the National Constitution Center.

When asked 10 basic questions about the Constitution, half the respondents didn’t know how many U.S. senators we have (100). Two in five didn’t know there are three branches of government. And less than 20 percent were able to correctly answer at least eight of 10 questions, such as how long senators serve (six years), who nominates Supreme Court justices (the president) and what the first 10 amendments to the Constitution are called (the Bill of Rights).

In addition, 16 percent incorrectly believe the Constitution declares Christianity the official U.S. religion and 24 percent cannot name any of the First Amendment rights.

And The Spokesman-Review editorial board and Fitzsimmons want people like this voting? C’mon. If Charlie and another 80 percent of the registered voters stay home, a vote from an informed citizen weighs five times as much - and that’s not counting all the slackers who didn’t bother to register.

Forget it, Spokane. Your sorry Charlies served you well Tuesday by sitting this one out.

, DataTimes MEMO: See opposing view under the headline: Neglect could be fatal to democracy

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = EDITORIAL, COLUMN - From both sides

See opposing view under the headline: Neglect could be fatal to democracy

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = EDITORIAL, COLUMN - From both sides

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