Cherish democracy by going to the polls

Jul. 06, 2013 @ 04:59 PM

Last week, we celebrated the anniversary of our country’s birth as the world’s greatest democracy. In another part of the world, a fledgling democracy may have come to an end.

On Wednesday, Egypt’s military, because it could do so, deposed that country’s first democratically elected president only one year after he had taken office. Granted, President Mohammed Morsi’s overthrow came on the heels of what appears to have been a popular uprising. 

In the United States, our democratic values protect elected officials, whether we like them or not.  

At the national level, our president, vice-president and all civil officers, can be removed from office only on impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

Even at the local level, as The Enquirer-Journal recently reported in the wake of the controversies surrounding the mayors of Indian Trail and Waxhaw, it is extremely difficult to remove elected officials from office. 

Following his misleading statements and censure by the Indian Trail Town Council, The Enquirer-Journal published a strongly worded editorial asking Michael Alvarez to resign as Mayor of Indian Trail. In another editorial, following her arrest and censure by Waxhaw’s commissioners, we suggested that Waxhaw Mayor Duane Gardner consider her options. However, if they choose to lawfully remain in office, removal of Alvarez and Gardner can only come through the ballot box. That is as it should be.

Fortunately for them, Alvarez and Gardner are not up for re-election this year. However, the mayoral term does expire in nine of Union County’s municipalities: Lake Park, Marshville, Marvin, Mineral Springs, Monroe, Stallings, Unionville, Weddington and Wesley Chapel.

Additionally, there are elections for aldermen, commissioners or council members in all fourteen of Union County’s municipalities.

In Monroe, Mayor Bobby Kilgore has filed for re-election. Kilgore usually finds himself on the losing side of what is generally considered to be a four to three split of the city council.

However, the seats of three members of the Monroe City Council who are usually aligned on the winning side of the four to three divide are up for election. Those members are: John Ashcraft, Margaret Desio and Freddie Gordon. 

Given the highly contentious atmosphere in Monroe’s City Hall over the last year, this should prove to be an important election.

Due to similar divisions on controversial issues, the election for the two council seats currently held by Robert Allen and Darlene Luther, will make Indian Trail’s municipal election one to watch again this year.

The significance of filing for Union County’s municipal elections beginning during the same week in which we celebrate our democracy and in which the future of democracy in another country was placed in limbo should not be lost on the citizens of this county. 

We enjoy rights and a civic responsibility that so much of the world does not have. Plan to exercise those and vote on Oct. 8, if you live in Monroe, or on Nov. 5, if you live in one of Union County’s other municipalities.