To the people who participate

A lot of people are understandably awaiting the election results over the next few days to find out who won an office or whether a referendum passed.

There’s another result, though, that might be a better indicator of where we are in America: How many people bothered to vote.

Off-year elections don’t generate a lot of interest. On the other hand, in a country that is at war with itself on a daily basis, one might think an opportunity to make a voice heard is one that’s too hard to pass up. We’re guessing most will.

There’s a reason why New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has the highest disapproval rating of any governor in the United States. But his confrontation with a constituent outside a polling place today over the failure to merge his hometown and a borough is a classic snapshot of the state of civic participation. A woman wanted the governor to do something he couldn’t do, and then rejects the suggestion that she be the person who can.

What would it take for the woman to win a spot on the township committee? About 360 votes. That’s doable for anyone willing to put in the effort.

Christie, of course, wins no points for style here. He’s a bully of the first order. But he unwittingly showed that one of the reasons we have people in public service we don’t like is because we have no interest in being an alternative.

Here’s to those people on ballots in big and small towns today who put in the work.