Yes, sometimes the New York Times has something interesting. In this case, though, it’s a vitally important thing happening in Utah that they decided to bury at the very bottom of their story on all the local elections going on across the country:
In dozens of communities in Utah, the question was whether to have an election at all. A new state law this year, aimed saving money for local governments, allows local authorities for the first time to forgo voting if the results would have no material effect; as of Monday, 45 towns and cities had notified the state that they were taking up the offer.
A no-vote election is available to a community only if every office on its ballot is uncontested — not uncommon in small towns where recruiting candidates is tough — and if there are no ballot propositions. The 45 participants this year saved an estimated $270,000, said the state’s director of elections, Mark J. Thomas.
On the face of it, I understand the reasoning. All the offices are uncontested, there’s no referendum for the public to vote on, and nothing anyone does will actually change the makeup of the local government, so why spend money? The pragmatic argument for this is obvious.
But America was never about pragmatism. If America was pragmatic, it would never have started the American Revolution, or fought to keep the Confederacy within the Union. It would have never gone to the Moon, or decided that NASCAR made any sense. No, even today, in these “dark times,” America has been one of idealism, not pragmatism.