The people have spoken

Last Tuesday, the people of Alabama and the American public made their selections for those who will represent them in government.

Overwhelmingly, this election turned out to be a full referendum on President Obama’s administration and policy initiatives.

This was especially true in Alabama where Republicans increased their majorities statewide and in the legislative chambers. In the Alabama House of Representatives, Republicans increased their supermajority of 66 to 72 seats of the 105, and in the Senate their supermajority was increased from 23 to 25 of the 35 total seats.

These numbers show that the Republican Party in Alabama now controls 97 of 140 seats in the Legislature (70% of all seats), not to mention all seven statewide offices. So what does this mean for Alabamians?

While some may interpret these results as a “stamp of approval” for policies passed by the Republican-led legislature over the past four years, I have to disagree. If you paid any attention to the political commercials blasting the airwaves across the state for the past few months, you will see why.

With so little emphasis on the record of candidates over the past few years and such heavy emphasis on “fighting Obama,” one must conclude that the results of this election was a referendum on President Obama’s policies. This makes one wonder how much attention will be paid to the actions of those who were elected over the next four years.

In this election, only 40 percent, or 1 million, of the state’s 2.5 million registered voters turned out to cast their ballot. In Alabama there are 3.7 million citizens who are eligible to vote.

Therefore, only about 27 percent, just over one-fourth of Alabama’s voting age population actually voted. Because candidates who won election were selected with at least a 51 percent majority vote, an assumption can be made that only about 13 percent of Alabama’s voting population selected those who will represent us in government for the next four years.

This is very troubling, not just from a governing perspective, but from a civic engagement perspective. When little over 10 percent of a population is selecting their government’s representatives, that leaves virtually 90 percent of citizens completely unrepresented.

So who’s to blame? Those who did not vote, quite frankly. A disengaged citizenry is just as harmful to the population as a whole as is a bad government. We can only hope that Alabamians will monitor the actions of their government and that our government will work to represent all of Alabama.

After all, President Obama only has two years left in office, but the current state government will serve four years. Keep your eyes and ears to the ground, Alabama. You know I will!

Brett Johnson
Staff Writer

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