There is so much going on in the world that it is impossible to figure out where to focus one’s attention or this column. The Jan. 6 congressional committee is unraveling layers of members of our government who participated in an attempted coup. Despite this, the polling data shows only 22 percent of Republicans believe Biden was elected legitimately (compared to 71 percent of Independents and 93 percent of Democrats).
There are two high-profile trials happening. The white men who killed Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man out for a run, are on trial. The now 18-year-old white man who drove across state lines with an illegal firearm, killed two people and injured a third is also on trial. We are collectively holding our breath, waiting to see if they will escape justice by using the “defense” that they were protecting property, justifying murder.
The Conference of the Parties — a major international environmental conference — is going on. Several major reports have outlined how critical it is to take decisive, immediate action on climate. Despite all the scientific and observable evidence, the obstructionism of the Republican party and one Democratic senator from West Virginia is preventing the passage of important climate legislation.
Then there is our Supreme Court: It’s oral argument time. There are several important cases before the court, and it is terrifying to think what this court may do in the areas of abortion, Indigenous rights, gun control and many other important access-to-justice issues.
In Washington, our elections have some pundits questioning just how progressive Seattle is. The Mayor’s Office, the City Attorney’s Office and at least one City Council seat went to the less progressive candidates.
It is hard to say what an election like this has to say about general attitudes. As of Nov. 10, less than 40 percent of registered voters cast a ballot. The age breakdown shows only 16.5 percent of registered voters between ages 18 and 24 voted, and only 21.7 percent of registered voters aged 23 to 34 voted. This is compared to 63.1 percent of registered voters who are 65 and older, making them the only age category that voted at a rate higher than 50 percent.
It is easier to vote in Washington than in the vast majority of other states. Despite how easy it is, not even every other person voted. All of the issues we are facing as a society can be impacted by who we elect, even on the local level, yet less than half of registered voters voted.
When we do not vote, especially when young people consistently do not vote in high numbers, we send a clear message to our elected officials: Our concerns do not have to be addressed.
Read more of the Nov. 17-23, 2021 issue.