Sponsored By

September 3, 2004

4 Min Read
Editorial: Vote early and often

MSnyder.jpgSome associate the above advice with Chicago, but Safire?s Political Dictionary traces it to John van Buren, a New York lawyer and the son of president Martin van Buren. The historian James Morgan is credited with the quote in a 1926 book. Like a lot of things in politics, the concept is by no means new.

As for Chicago, legend has it that politicians want to die there so they can continue to remain politically active after dying. The mechanism is this: Officials obtain lists of the deceased, register them as voters, and then cast their votes as often as desired. The deceased can?t complain, and the living have a hard time cornering the perpetrators, who have become skilled at their schemes.

We don?t address politics in this space very often, at least not directly. Everybody in the business world is influenced by politics, however, whether or not that influence is acknowledged. The time has come for that quadrennial circus that we call ?presidential elections.? Relax. I?m not going to tell you who to vote for. I?m not even going to tell you who I am going to vote for. These are heavy matters, but let us be a little light-hearted about it. I know that my vote will not change even if one or the other or both major candidates do something crazy, for example, parade down Main Street in their birthday suits. (If they thought it would get them votes, I think they would do it.)

Furthermore, and this is a little disturbing, everybody who has told me that they will vote is also locked in, whether to one candidate or the other. (One embittered Vietnam veteran says he will vote for Nader, out of disgust with the other two candidates.)

If this degree of decisiveness is very widespread, we might as well cease the campaigns, hold the vote, and give the leftover campaign money to charities. Alas, it won?t happen. We will all be ducking mud for another month or two.

Several more short observations, before we move on. Some of my acquaintances have taken great offense that the current incumbent did not win the popular vote, but became president anyway. Well, that might not be a desirable state of affairs, but the little known fact of the matter is that this has happened many times before in our history, as many as sixteen by one count. The usual caveats apply. Procedures have changed, it is difficult to compare apples with oranges, and the like. Nevertheless, the historical fact remains that these anomalies are not very rare in our system.

One can?t be too much of a purist about these things. On the other hand, it is widely acknowledged that outrages were perpetrated in the Florida electoral process. What?s worse, it is reasonably feared, and widely publicized, that Florida may not have gotten its act together to do things right this year, even if one credits the state with well-meaning attempts. Maybe we should hark back to a standard that applies to those accused of crimes in a court of law. They are entitled to a fair trial, not necessarily a perfect trial. We are all entitled to a fair election, if not a perfect election.

Vote with Your Time and Money

Here are ways you can vote every day, and make a difference. You don?t have to wait four years to defend your candidate, or throw the bum out, whatever the case may be. These are plastics-specific examples. They are not original, but somebody needs to beat the drum for them. If you work in the plastics industry, and most of you do or you wouldn?t be reading this, consider the following:

  • Vote for plastics. When you get a chance to opt for a plastics product versus other materials, opt for the plastics. If you work in this industry you should remember which side of your bread the butter is on.

  • Vote for recycling. My city takes only PET and HDPE plastics containers. I don?t like those limits, but the program is better than nothing?so I participate on behalf of my home and our office. I?ve been challenged as to whether I consider myself better than other people because I recycle. I don?t. I just think that because I work in this industry I should do my part to recover plastics materials. While I?m at it, I recycle aluminum, glass, and newsprint. Why not? It can?t hurt.

  • Vote for pellet-free water. SPI has promoted this for years. Consumers don?t handle pellets. Only materials suppliers, compounders, and processors can keep pellets out of the wastewater stream. Once in the water anywhere, pellets work their way into the reach of birds and other marine life, to deadly effect. Don?t let it happen, now or ever.

  • Vote for progress. Join the organizations devoted to your specialty. Read the journals. Attend meetings and shows. Expand your knowledge. Point yourself and your company at the future.

  • So there it is. Vote early, vote often, vote well.

    Snyder-Signature.jpgMerle R. SnyderEditor

Sign up for the PlasticsToday NewsFeed newsletter.

You May Also Like