MORRIS: Let's vote our way out of this mess

Greg Morris
May 5, 2012
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MorrisOn May 8, the time for talk is over and it’s time to vote. I know many of us are thankful for this as we’re all tired of the constant barrage of negative ads. It’s been an especially brutal primary season.

Most people I talk with tell me they highly resent the tone in the Lugar/Mourdock race in particular. Add to that, there was so much money poured into the market for these two candidates, there was no way to escape unless you unplugged your television.

After all the negative campaigning, you may be disgusted with the process, but you can’t stick your head in the sand and not participate. There are many local, state and national offices at stake, along with important issues to decide. We can’t be so jaded and, frankly, sometimes downright depressed, about all the dysfunction and lack of agreement on anything in government that we fail to go to the polls and vote.

That’s my message. Please vote. I’m not suggesting whom you should cast your vote for. I’m just asking that you participate in the process. I want everyone to do their civic duty and vote. This is an important primary election. Sometimes primaries are pretty bland and nondescript. This is not one of those occasions.

In this week’s IBJ, you’ll find an advertisement encouraging voter turnout. The main message delivered is to “Speak Up—Vote” and the reader is directed to IndianaVoters.com to find their polling place. The ad offers an advance look at the soon-to-be-announced “Get Out the Vote” newspaper campaign made possible by the Hoosier State Press Association Foundation. The kickoff ad is one of several versions I hope you will see in most of the more-than-170 HSPA-member newspapers in the state leading up to the November election.

The ads developed in the coming months will be geared to the general election and contain more specific information for November. But, the message will be consistent: VOTE! As the newly elected president of the Hoosier State Press Association, I’ll be encouraging all our member newspapers to run these ads as often as possible leading up to the November election.

The effort ties in with the HSPA Foundation’s partnership with the Indiana Bar Foundation, along with other groups, on the Civic Health Index to measure Hoosiers’ commitment to civic engagement, political knowledge, community service—and understanding of the First Amendment. I’ve covered the poor showing by Indiana residents in civic engagement in previous columns. There’s a lot of work to be done to improve the percentage of participation in the voting process.

While I’m at it, I want to offer a thought about our tolerance of people whose opinions we don’t share. It seems that, far too often these days, if someone doesn’t agree with us, they become the enemy. It’s not just a difference of opinion to be discussed in a civil manner, it’s some sort of betrayal. Everything has become personal.

Remember when Ted Kennedy could rake Republicans over the coals in a blistering speech on the floor of the Senate, then put his arm around his political opponent and ask them to go have a beer later that evening? Unfortunately, those days appear to be gone. We’re heading for a day, and we may already be there, when the only way to get elected is to be an extremist on the right or the left with no tolerance for middle ground and compromise. To my point, it seems like Richard Mourdock has forced Sen. Richard Lugar to look like an extremist to combat attacks that he’s not conservative enough.

Any politician, like Lugar, who tries to work earnestly with both parties to accomplish a task appears to be in no man’s land today as far as electability is concerned. It’s very dangerous ground. The extremists on both sides seem to be getting all the attention. Everything I’m hearing is that if you think Washington is dysfunctional now, you haven’t seen anything yet. It’s only going to get worse.

So, everybody needs to be a part of a respectful discussion on how to get us out of this mess. The ultimate expression of your opinion is offered when you go to the polls and vote. Thanks for participating.•


Morris is publisher of IBJ. His column appears every other week. To comment on this column, send e-mail to gmorris@ibj.com.


  • Incentivize bipartisanship?
    The Bipartisanship Policy Center and the National Conference on Citizenship held a panel asking who took civility out of politics? You can watch the panel and join the discussion here: http://ncoc.net/bipartisanship
  • Primary Partisanship
    Primaries are the worst! They bring out partisanship. Would open primaries help the process? Would that get it beyond party politics?

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  1. A couple of issues need some clarification especially since my name was on the list. I am not sure how this information was obtained and from where. For me, the amount was incorrect to begin with and the money does not come to me personally. I am guessing that the names listed are the Principal Investigators (individual responsible for the conduct of the trail) for the different pharmaceutical trials and not the entity which receives the checks. In my case, I participate in Phase II and Phase III trials which are required for new drug development. Your article should differentiate the amount of money received for consulting, for speaking fees, and for conduct of a clinical trial for new drug development. The lumping of all of these categories may give the reader a false impression of physicians just trying to get rich. The Sunshine Law may help to differentiate these categories in the future. The public should be aware that the Clinical Trial Industry could be a real economic driver for Indiana since these revenues supports jobs and new job creation. Nationally, this account for 10-20 billion which our State is missing out on to a large degree. Yes, new drug and technology development has gotten most of the attention (e.g. CTSI, BioCrossroads, etc.) However, serious money is being left on the table by not participating in the clinical trials to get those new drugs and medical devices on the market!!!! I guess that this is not sexy enough for academia.

  2. The address given for the Goldfish Swim Club is the Ace Hardware, is it closing?

  3. Out of state management and ownership. If Kite controlled it, everything would be leased. Of course, due to the roundabout, there is limited access to the south side of 116th now also. Just have to go down to the light.

  4. Hey smudge, You're opposed to arresting people for minor crimes? Sounds great! We should only focus on murders and such, right? Let's stand around and wait until someone shoots someone before we act. Whatever we do, we should never question anyone, frisk anyone, or arrest anyone unless they are actively engaged in shooting or stabbing. Very sound!

  5. You guys are being really rude to gays in the comments. (Not all of you, I presume). You need to stop it. Gays have just as much of a right to marry as straight people do. It's not fair how you guys are denying them equal rights. They're acting more human than you'll ever be. We obviously haven't matured since the bible was last updated. Hate the sin, not the sinner. You've all committed a sin at least once in your life. You've lied, you've stolen, etc. (Those are just possibilities). We should have a planet for people that support gay rights and a planet for people that don't. Then, gay people could get married without you bigots interfering with their love life. How would you feel if straights couldn't get married? How would you feel if teenagers were afraid to come out to their parents as straight? If straight people got hate everywhere they went? If straight people were afraid to go out in public, because they feared being judged? It's never going to happen at the rate society is going. You haven't seen the side of me where I act obscene. You're glad my inner demon hasn't been released. I would, but oh no, my comment would be removed because of my very strong emotions about this subject. I love gays, and love how they show their affection for each other. I just ADORE how a state is going to give same-sex couples a marriage license, then changes their mind. (I was obviously being sarcastic there). I just LOVE how society thinks gays are an abomination to our society. You're caring about marriage between two men or two women. That's a small thing. Just grow up, and let them marry. Let them live their lives. You can't make them change their sexuality. You can't make them change their lifestyle. In my opinion, gays are more than welcome to marry. Please, grow up and realize that people should be allowed to marry, even if it's same-sex marriage. You guys are saying that "the bible said gay marriage is wrong." Well, guess what else is wrong? Read Matthew:7 and you'll find out. (I am in no way breaking that. I am saying a fact). I'm stating that gays have just as much of a right to marry as straights do. (: