We have a problem. And it's us. We're complainers. It's our DNA. We're a kingdom of kvetchers and carpers. We complain about high taxes and low wages and traffic and noise and crime and Common Core and red-light cameras and low-flying aircraft and high-rise apartments and late trains and corrupt politicians and . . .
Don't get us wrong. There's nothing wrong with complaining. Absolutely nothing. Unless that's all you do.
Our Founding Fathers didn't stop at complaining. They created this great country that gives all of us the right to express our opinions and the opportunity to participate in this magnificent system called democracy. We all profess to love it. But it works best when we all participate. And though most of us do so by paying taxes, too few of us vote.
Tuesday is Election Day. Dozens of positions are up for grabs. But there's no presidential race, so a lot of us have not been paying attention. Two years ago, the last time we selected neither a president nor a governor, only 24 percent of eligible voters in Suffolk County went to the polls. In Nassau, it was 31 percent. That's not good.
And, to be fair, it's not just us. Last year, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo won a second term with the second-lowest voter turnout in the nation, ahead of only Texas. Even in 2012, a presidential year, voter turnout in the United States ranked 31st out of the 34 democracies in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. We, the model?
The positions on Long Island's ballots this year directly impact your life. The Nassau County district attorney decides whom to prosecute and for which crimes. Nassau's Surrogate's Court judge oversees wills and chooses lawyers to administer estates. The Suffolk County executive and legislators from both counties craft budgets that take and spend your taxes. Town supervisors and town boards do that, too, and decide which developments move forward, which businesses open in which locations, and what to do about vacant homes that degrade your neighborhood.
If you have a complaint, vote. Learn about the candidates at newsday.com/votersguide and check out our endorsements at newsday.com/endorsements. The polls are open for 15 hours, until 9 p.m. That's time enough to get there.
Please. Vote. Otherwise your complaints are just talk.