Know Nothings try to quit local public library

As we the people have learned during this incredible presidential election campaign, the proposition of granting our consent to govern is an imperfect and messy process.

One drawback of the people having the right to vote is the too-easy procedure of getting issues and ideas before the voters in the form of local referendums. Many times a small group of misguided or misinformed citizens organize to collect a few signatures to put a bad idea on the ballot.

Such is the case in Chassell Township, where it seems the Know-Nothing Party has resurrected, seeking voter approval to withdraw township residents from the Portage Lake District Library.

The Know-Nothing Party of the mid-1800s was a clan of nativist bigots that attempted to sneak into political power to “purify” American politics by eradicating the influence of Irish Catholics and other immigrants – people they perceived as hostile to their perception of American values. When asked about their nativist views, members were supposed to say they knew nothing.

These reincarnated Know Nothings are not bigoted, but by the low-key way they’ve placed this referendum on a primary election ballot, in an attempt to avoid paying a few bucks in taxes to the local public library, demonstrates how little they know about how a public library enhances a community and offers a return of many times of their tax investment. Instead of getting informed, they resort to withdrawing from the district, to the detriment of the rest of their community. Good neighbors.

This is definitely a stealth campaign that if successful will cut off a huge body of information, resources and services that much of the children, students and adults of Chassell Township can neither afford nor access on the internet. That the referendum is on a primary election, in which the lowest voter turnout occurs is not a coincidence.

While they know little about the benefits of a public library available to the public regardless of income, these Know Nothings do know the best way to get this measure passed is to keep voter turnout low. Why? Because most people realize the value of a public library and support its mission.

We join with the Copper Country League of Women Voters in urging the people of Chassell to vote against the question on Aug. 2.

A Daily Mining Gazette editorial