Many Americans have come to realize the extent to which our political system is corrupt. If nothing else, the cable news networks have exposed the vast underbelly of the political culture for all to see – and it is hideous.

Voters have long felt that something may well be rotten in Denmark, but it sure as hell stinks to high heaven in Washington, D.C. and in state houses and city and town halls all across the land. It's not that our political system is bad, it's just badly in need of some TLC. In other words, a good cleaning and airing out is overdue.

When the kitchen is overdue for a scrubbing, sometimes it's difficult to get that dirt and grime out of the crevasses. It seems to resist your best efforts and requires a little extra elbow grease to get rid of it. The same is true of our political system.

Voter neglect has allowed that dirt and grime to take hold of our government and it is tough as hell to get it out. It's going to require some elbow grease and a bit of resolve to scrub it clean and make it look and function like new again. Like the dirt and grime, eliminating the culture of corruption and keeping it from coming back is going to take some work and lots of attention.

The swamp didn't form overnight and it won't be drained overnight. This is not going to be easy. Look at how organized the resistance is. The swamp also has many tributaries that run through cities and towns from coast to coast. Those tributaries need to be drained as well.

Politicians at all levels have learned to go along to get along. Retaining power often matters more than doing what's right. Don't rock the boat. Don't challenge the system. When was the last time you saw a local official challenge a member of the state or federal delegation? You haven't seen it. You'll see them kiss ass for a photo op, though.

It's time to take a stand for change.

When voters decide they have truly had enough and begin to turn out in numbers that matter, change will be possible. Low voter turnout makes it impossible to dislodge entrenched incumbents and discourages new candidates from seeking office.

Go to the polls today, New Bedford, and show that you are not afraid to make a change.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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