Dear Non-Voters: Think Twice Before Skipping the Midterms

Editor’s Note: We believe that our community should be honest, open-minded and willing to engage in a civil dialogue about the issues facing our community, both present and future. The IDEAS page is our place for public opinion, a place where a person can express what concerns them about present-day Wheeling. However, there is one major caveat. The author must propose their resolution to the problem. The essay below by one of our contributors meets this test.

It’s that time of the season! Your television is filled with campaign ads, your mailbox stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey and your Facebook feed — a political landmine. One wrong move and you could set off a firestorm of partisan ad hominem attacks — take my word for it.

This has been the sad state of American electoral politics for quite some time.

But the common thread of our collective political experience, what our family arguments, bumper stickers and social media posts have all led to is a vote.

That singular private moment between you and a set of names; names of people who hope you saw their ads, liked their haircut or at least thought they sounded smartish — maybe even competent.

Despite a political fervor felt by millions of Americans, there will likely remain an enormous group of constituents who will be resolved to stay home.

In America, It seems that every two years, a great (and growing) number of citizens operate unconcerned or at least uninspired by our age-old democratic process.

There are — no doubt — a few glitches in the system, but has the ballot lost its base?

Amid allegations of voter suppression, election hacking and the ever-so-wonky electoral college, I can see why so many folks have become frustrated and disillusioned with our political process.

However, I am not here to belabor these points, revise the U.S Constitution or even throw statistics at you (deeeep breath of self-control) but rather to inspire you in nonpartisan language to go to the polls this Nov. 6.


Americans have voted in thousands of elections since the inception of our admired Constitution and each vote cast serves as building blocks for who we are today — for better or for worse.

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We are well aware that the power of the American voter reverberates throughout the land every two years.

The candidates we support, the campaigns we fund and the votes we eventually cast, fundamentally influence the future of our country and the course of the world. By birth, each of us is granted this opportunity — some might say obligation — to participate in our democracy.

For African-Americans and women, the right to vote still has that “new democracy smell” and should perhaps carry with it, by nature of its newness, a solemn and dutiful reminder.

Freedom is only as real as your desperation to defend it.

Your vote is the culmination of 242 years of the greatest political experiment history has ever known.

Let us stop thinking of ourselves as just the patients in this experiment — blindly following orders, waiting for a cure.

We are much more powerful than we give ourselves credit for. We control the wheel, the helm — the operating table.

This November, I ask you to cast your vote with precision. You are in direct control of the greatest democratic process in history and should validate your voting rights however and whenever possible.

If we choose to act with compassion, courage and perseverance, I have no doubt that things will get better, and we will be better for it.


I am hopeful. I am a voter.

• Rosemary Ketchum is a member of the Wheeling City Council representing Ward 3. Ketchum also serves as the Chief Facilitator of the public health coalition “Edible Mountain”. Rosemary’s work in community organizing and politics has been featured on TODAY, MSNBC, CBS, and CNN.