One of the things we do in the League is to educate people about the importance of voting and their right to vote. Not only as President of this League, but as a resident of Morgantown, I am absolutely appalled at the recent low turn-out of 9% at the City Council election. It is part of a growing and troubling trend that I observe reflected in many places and in not so subtle ways: people choosing to sit in grid-locked traffic rather than walking, biking, car-sharing, or taking a bus, a lack of measurable action in regards to curbing climate change, a marked decline in voluntarism in community oriented organizations (including the League), people who make lots of noise on the Internet and in the news, but take no real action, and the list just goes on. A way to summarize this phenomenon is to recognize that people have become so detached from their community that the net effect is that civic participation is now considered a chore rather than a joyous right.
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, and a famous statement by George Santayana is worth repeating, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” At this years Annual Meeting we have invited Barb Howe to retrace the history leading up to the signing of the Voters Right Act of 1965. Please be proactive and invite your friends from the community to come listen to her talk, and make it your objective this year to become a participant in turning around the tide of apathy which threatens to swallow us all up. All that is required are baby steps, and a great place to begin is by volunteering with your League!Jonathan Rosenbaum President of the League of Women Voters of Morgantown-Monongalia County