From the Editor’s Playbook

Unopposed is not democracy


Besides “voter oppression,” do you want to know what the two worst words are in this current climate of democracy?

“Ran unopposed.”

Yet you’ll be reading that phrase a lot this upcoming election cycle.

The candidate filing deadline for the 2018 election has come and gone, and when you few who go to the polls look down on the ballot, you’ll see all but one position with just one name underneath it.

County Judge? Unopposed.

District Clerk? Unopposed.

County Clerk? Unopposed.

County Surveyor? Unopposed.

County Commissioner? Both spots, unopposed.

And that’s the Republican primary. No one is running for any of the local spots in the Democratic ticket.

That means we’ll be deciding on just one local election on March 2, 2018. The County Treasurer will be decided against two familiar names as voters will have the option of reelecting incumbent Jo Ann Mercer or going back to Sheryl Barborak, a former County Treasurer who ran as a Democrat in 2014, but has filed as a Republican this upcoming election.

Other than County Treasurer, this is democracy without a choice. It’s like when Burger King had their slogan “have it your way” but upon ordering food, the cashier tells you “actually, all we have are chicken nuggets.”

And look, you might love chicken nuggets. That can work out great for those who do. But for others who prefer the Whopper, well, now it looks like they can’t have it their way.

I’ve seen the social media posts complaining about our currently elected officials. But we’ve gone through this before. Election season comes, someone writes in the paper, whether it’s an editorial or letter to the editor, on the importance of voting, a small fraction of the voting population decides the fate of our city since, you know, voter turnout has been low in Gonzales, more complaints on social media, then back to election season where voting again is down. The cycle doesn’t end.

It can’t be overstated the importance of voting. We need to make sure our voices are heard. But that can’t happen if we don’t have viable candidates to choose from. In the past city council election, we at least had options. Gonzales Mayor Connie Kacir, however, ran unopposed in 2016. And now, this upcoming election, we’ll have nine local candidates who all they had to do was sign up and the job is theirs because they ran unopposed. That’s not to say that our current representatives aren’t doing a good job. But if you don’t like chicken nuggets, well maybe you need to get on that grill and fry up some more options for the rest of us voters.

Democracy works when we have choices. Without choices, we’ll be stuck with “chicken nuggets” representing us, whether you like them or not.

Hope you like chicken nuggets.