Letters to the editor (06/19/14)

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Voting not just a privilege

We must all be cognizant of the conditions under which we select public officials. It has become outrageously expensive to run for office, and donors are key to being elected.
While having just those wealthy enough to pay their own way to election is not a good idea in a “representative”-style government, the alternative is little better. Backers are those who will have “access” to elected officials. The rest of us are on our own and might get a handshake without accompanying eye-contact at best.
Elected officials and representatives are virtually useless at making progress in the highly-charged partisan governments we endure today. Ego, machismo, and “standing your ground” come before governing and taking into account constituents as a whole. Constituents with money get the usual access and service government assigns to the wealthy.
The point? The top law enforcement officials in any county are the district attorney and the sheriff. Since both are elected it must be accepted that both are crooks, regardless of whom is elected. The sheriff will have a list of persons he would not arrest under any circumstances and the district attorney will have a list of persons he would not prosecute under any conditions. The prominent, moneyed interests that pay the way to election. The leading citizens who are above reproach and can intimidate any elected officials in their districts. Those with “access.”
Incumbents and candidates will protest this is not true. Of course. Since it’s unlikely they would have to arrest our “leading” citizens anyway, they can safely claim to be above such double-standards. Nevertheless, when you feel you need an audience with the sheriff or the district attorney and they can’t seem to find time for you — remember these words.
We must vote. It is not just a privilege. It is a responsibility in a democracy, despite the widespread corruption in governments … local to national. We can’t even get fair representation in our electric co-op. To give up the vote would be to cave in to the spreading elitism that excludes more and more of us.
People ask me why I don’t run for office. My reply is that the state of New Mexico rules against me. My parents were married.

Herbert Myers