Get involved

Published 9:48 pm Saturday, September 1, 2007

By Staff
Whether it be a fundraiser with fried chicken and barbecue on the menu or an ice cream social, Beaufort County’s two major political parties are conducting events and activities to increase their membership.
More power to them. The more people who run for office, elect candidates to office and get others involved in this nation’s democratic process the better. Being involved is better than not being involved and complaining about what others are doing or not doing.
That’s why the Beaufort County Republican Party and the Beaufort County Democratic Party should be acknowledged for their efforts earlier this week to get people involved in the political process.
Yes, many people look at politics as a dirty, corrupt process. If those people want politics to be cleaned up, they need to help clean it up. They can do that by participating in politics. Some people want to affect local, state and national policies and programs. They can do that by getting involved.
But don’t limit the participation to just the traditional Democratic and Republican parties. Other political parties — Libertarian, New Party and the like — and political groups like the Progressive Democrats — should be looking for new members. The more diverse ideas and philosophies to choose from, the better off this nation will be. From those diverse ideas and philosophies, people may choose those they believe will help improve their lives.
Many people, members of political parties (major and minor) and folks who are not affiliated with political parties, are disheartened with the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. Some of those disheartened people say those two established, traditional parties don’t represent their interests. Many people say the Republican and Democratic parties have been hijacked by extreme elements of each party, leaving the average, moderate voter without someone representing his or her voice.
Many people aren’t “conservative” or “liberal.” They are moderate in their views. Even if 20 percent of Americans are “conservative” and 20 percent of Americans are “liberal,” that leaves 60 percent of Americans — a majority — somewhere in the middle. It’s that 60 percent — the silent majority, if you will — of the population that needs its voice heard and its wishes carried out.
There is not doubt that being a Republican, whatever that means, or being a Democrat, whatever that means, are the labels that many Americans seek and prefer. That’s fine, for them. But what about the millions of Americans who are not satisfied with what the Democrats or Republicans have to offer? They deserve a chance to pick the label that best suits them.
Beaufort County has 4,571 unaffiliated voters out of 29,421 voters, according to the latest information from the State Board of Elections. That means 15.5 percent of the county’s voters are not registered as Republicans or Democrats. Statewide, there are 1,139,296 voters registered as unaffiliated out of 5,532,549 registered voters. That comes out to about 20.5 percent, slightly more than one-fifth, of the state’s registered voters deciding they need a voice that’s neither Democratic nor Republican speaking for them.
Having several candidates to choose from is a good thing for voters. So is having several political parties to choose from. It’s up to each voter to choose which party best represents him or her.
Want to make a difference in the political game? Then make at least two choices. Choose to get involved and choose a team to join.