Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: Nov. 15

Published 2:51 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Thumbs Up

A day veterans look forward to all year

There were a lot of smiles on veterans’ faces at Friday’s Veterans Day event at the Danville National Guard Armory building.

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There was free food and lots of appreciation for veterans’ service going around, but something else some veterans got from the event was camaraderie. They got to see old friends and meet others who know what they’ve been through, who know what war is like.

Many veterans say coming back to normal civilian life after serving in a war can be incredibly difficult. The things combat does to the human brain, the way you can be changed so completely, can leave you feeling like an alien in your own community, or even in your own home.

It’s easy to say “thank you for your service” or to think highly of people who serve in the military, but we too often forget why it’s a big deal. We who haven’t experienced war can too easily think of it like a sports event, where we cheer for our team and boo the other side.

But war is not at all like sport in one very big way: War is never a good thing.

War is a horrible, painful, often morally difficult thing that places the burden of choosing who dies — the most terrible burden anyone could bear — on the shoulders of individual soldiers. War is never something to cheer for, only something to cheer for the end of.

Many veterans have shouldered the burden of war in order to support the greater good at great personal cost. As a result, many are never the same, but at least they can find camaraderie with each other at events like the one on Friday.

Thumbs Up

New bookmobile provides more than books

Boyle County Public Library’s new bookmobile was unveiled last week with the help of Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X Walker, a Danville native.

Walker’s early life was influenced by a bookmobile, which would travel to his neighborhood and bring children running like an ice cream truck.

We’re happy to know, like Walker is, that Danville children — and adults — will continue to benefit from the positive influence of a bookmobile for many more years to come.

The bookmobile will carry books and other things such as audiobooks and magazines around Boyle County, but it will also feature a wifi hotspot and laptops, among other features. It will be a traveling resource for literacy of all kinds and Boyle County residents will only be smarter because of it.

Thumbs Down

Voter turnout not good enough

Boyle County officials were complimentary of last week’s turnout for the general election, which landed in the vicinity of 65 percent by the end of the day.

It’s always a good thing if voter turnout goes up because it increases the likelihood of truly representative democracy. But we think it’s time to stop grading voters on a curve. If elections were a test in class, a 65 would be a D at best — certainly not a passing grade.

A 65-percent turnout is really a 35-percent rate of apathy. A full third of our population didn’t bother to vote. That means they didn’t have a say in their own government, but it also means almost no one was elected by a true majority of eligible voters.

This happened at the national level, too — Hillary Clinton got 48 percent of votes cast and Donald Trump got 47 percent. But if you count all 231 million eligible voters, only about 26.4 percent voted for Clinton and only about 25.9 percent voted for Trump. A much larger number — more than 42 percent of eligible voters — cast no vote at all.

Americans are extremely dissatisfied with our government right now, and no matter who we elect president, that trend isn’t going to change any time soon unless we stop complaining and start doing something about it.

It’s time to get our grades up. We have to stop praising ourselves for getting Ds and start demanding As — or at least a C average.