• Last modified 210 days ago (Nov. 2, 2023)


Vote as if our future depends on it

Tuesday will be what politicians call an “off” election. We won’t be choosing a president, a governor, or members of Congress. We’ll still get cute little stickers for our jackets, indicating we’ve done our duty. But we won’t be casting ballots in races that normally drive voters to the polls.

Truth is, behavior by some of those we previously marked an “X” for in national races might these days be just as likely to drive us away from the polls. Locally, however, the only thing “off” about this election should be how truly put off supporters of democracy would have every right to be if voter turnout doesn’t break a record.

Forget Donald Trump vs. Joe Biden and the endless race to find someone, anyone, to lead the clan (or is that with a “k”) in the House. We have real issues to vote on.

In many communities, like Peabody, voters will have a plethora of candidates to choose among, and the issues that whoever wins will help decide will be far more locally impactful than most of the things constantly being debated — or, more accurately, screamed about — inside the Beltway and in the echo chambers of anti-social media.

No ballots, however, will be more important than those of Marion voters, who will get to choose a direction for a city that sadly has lost its way, generating international headlines unwelcome by nearly everyone involved.

At first glance, there isn’t a whole lot to choose from in Marion’s voting. Absent a late-breaking effort at a write-in campaign, only one of five people running won’t be part of next year’s city council. Two are specifically guaranteed. And a third should by rights be re-elected if for no other reason than politeness. We can’t reward someone like Ruth Herbel for struggling valiantly for four years to actually ask questions at council meetings, particularly after those who hate questions tried to oust her from the council with make-believe allegations that culminated in an illegal raid on her home — the same home that led a wildly successful effort to combat an ill-advised attempt to take away taxpayers’ rights to vote on city borrowing.

We wish all voters could have had our opportunity of having nearly six hours to interview the five candidates. Much clearer views of each candidate emerge from detailed discussions than from two-minute answers in a candidate forum, surveys of how many yard signs each has paid for, and impressions people gossip about over alcoholic or caffeinated brews. We’re printing summaries of those interviews in this week’s paper. We hope you read them and take the time to do your homework the way we expect successful candidates to do homework in representing us on the city council.

All five appear to be worthy citizens who, if held to their campaign promises, could do great things for the city. But if you aren’t sure about any of them, cast only one vote instead of two for council member or write in a name like Joan Meyer’s in one of the uncontested races. Your votes really do matter, if for no other reason than the size of mandate a victor will receive. If the future of Marion matters to you, make sure you exercise your rights Tuesday. It’s not just various seats on a council that are at stake. It’s whether our community can finally get back to being what we all hope it can be.

— Eric Meyer

Last modified Nov. 2, 2023