“Representative democracy is a form of government that guarantees we get pretty much what we deserve.”
Those words still ring in the ears of Florida Senate President Don Gaetz; words from his father — who died when Gaetz was 16, more than fifty years ago.
Gaetz’s latest email is not for advocating a specific candidate but in support of the whole institution of voting, as a function of a healthy democracy.
His father’s wisdom gave the Okaloosa County Republican strength to resist the urge to “fold arms in disgust,” bitter from disagreement and disillusion. If we fail to vote, he says, and others to fill the gaps in governance, then we are more likely to get “bad government.”
Voting, by an engaged and passionate electorate, is the first, best firewall against such bad government. It may not bring us a perfect state, or even one where everyone agrees, but it will be good governance.
“So that’s why I’ll be one of the first in line to vote at the Baptist Church on Range Road in Niceville,” Gaetz says. “Not because I’ve found flawless candidates. I’m voting because it will be my fault if I don’t vote and bad things happen to our community, our state, our country.”
Gaetz votes because he is able to draw distinctions between some candidates and causes, and those differences sometimes matter.
“And if I vote, then I will deserve victory if good things do happen.”
Regardless of politics or policy, Gaetz adds, get out there and vote. Get someone else to vote.
Because a half century ago, his father was right — if we do not vote, then we get exactly what we deserve.