The Pittsburgh Press (October 25, 1942)
Editorial: Election, Nov. 3
Election Day is nine days away.
At the polls Nov. 3, the people of Pennsylvania are scheduled to elect a new Governor, a Lieutenant-Governor, a Secretary of Internal Affairs, a Congressman-at-Large, 32 Congressmen by districts, 25 State Senators and 208 members of the State House of Representatives.
As matters now stand, the prospect is dull.
The campaign, so-called, in which the candidates have hardly been participating has attracted a ripple of public attention. Even the professional politicians have exhibited a lackadaisical attitude. Many of them are discouraged by public apathy.
There are scarcely any issues and only here and there has a candidate made any serious effort to discuss anything resembling an issue. Most of the candidates are relatively colorless. Campaign rallies have been poorly attended.
All in all, nobody seems to care.
They say it is the war. People are too busy with the war to take notice of politics.
Well, what are we fighting this war for?
For one thing, to save ourselves from being killed or enslaved by the most barbaric aggressors since the Middle Ages.
But for another thing, to preserve our form of government.
And why preserve our form of government? Because only by this form of government can we save our free way of life, our personal liberties and privileges.
What is our form of government? Simply, it is the unqualified privilege of speaking it, anywhere, anytime, our personal opinions of the government and the people who compose it, and the even greater privilege of changing the government, its personnel and its policies whenever a majority sees fit.
It is the incomparable right to go to the polls and vote, secretly, for whomever we damn please.
It is the right Hitler and the Jap warlords would take from us in the wink of an eye – if they could.
That’s a precious right, isn’t it? But it would seem a hundredfold more precious if we lost it.
The way to hold a franchise is to use it. A franchise neglected or abused is a franchise lost.
Public apathy breeds governmental apathy. An electorate on its toes means a government on its toes.
This year, more than ever, voting is important. The candidates may be mediocre and colorless, the issues may be vague and skimpy. But it is not the election results that count so much – it is the spectacle of a free people freely exercising a free and fundamental right.
Democracy and democratic processes – of which free voting is the heart – today face the greatest tests since their inception. The free way of life is being butchered and smashed in Europe, in Asia, in Africa and in the South Pacific. If it is entirely obliterated, it may be centuries – certainly generations – before it is restored.
Go to the polls and vote Nov. 3.