This month’s topic: Why open-minded, non-partisan nomination of candidates and voting is essential to picking a truly solid, non-corrupt government
It is the time for local elections again, hence our Special Election Edition, so I thought I would share my views on electing and voting.
Before anything else, I feel that citizens need to examine their own inner views and hidden behavior before complaining about politics and government. We go on and on about candidates being too “politician-like,” or “plastic,” yet we are the very ones who have caused them to be so. We expect perfect human specimens who have never said a bad word, done a drug, had sex out of wedlock, lost their temper, etc. . . . We condemn anyone who has ever made a mistake, rather than applauding such mistakes, as they are how we learn, and are what makes a person real. If the public demands candidates who go to church every Sunday in sweater-vests, with their perfect marriages and thin, smiling, heterosexual children, that is what we will get—whether genuine or, more likely, feigned. So, because we can’t seem to grasp the fact that no one meets the idealized standard, most of what these nominees are forced to convey to the public will be lies and spin. They give it to us because we want it. No, we beg for it. So let’s “get down off our high horses,” take candidates down from the “pedestal” we’ve forced them onto, and stop pleading for lies! If it becomes okay, or ideally, even preferred, for politicians to tell us the truth, then we will truly possess the ability to choose who is right for a position based on facts.
We go on and on about candidates being too “politician-like,” or “plastic,” yet we are the very ones who have caused them to be so
Next is the issue of keeping ourselves informed. I have always thought that there should be, at the very least, a public access channel dedicated to informing the public about each local government position and what it entails (If you are anything like me, you have no idea what a comptroller’s duties are), and highlighting each candidate and their proposed policies, but there exists no such channel locally. We are doing what we can to inform you here at the Gazette, but even our efforts are not enough, as we were unable to procure (and unable to fit) interviews from all candidates. Thus, it is up to all of us to be responsible and research each candidate. Do not go and vote if you are just planning on filling in random circles of names you think sound pleasant, or someone you may have heard of before—this is part of how politicians “play” us successfully. They put signage up all over the community, and then count on votes from people who have merely seen their name on a piece of cardboard. If you do not want to be manipulated, do not fall for tricks like this. Research all positions, candidates, and stances—with the internet there is no excuse for not looking into things. Read newspapers, online or in print. Call campaign offices and ask them questions. Do not show up at the voting booths to waste your vote or vote for someone whose face, voice, or name you like, or who you’ve seen more billboards for. This is supposed to be an educated vote by informed citizens, not a shallow popularity contest.
Finally, the last piece of the puzzle in building a solid government made up of the most deserving and non-corrupt members possible, is to stop voting for a preferred political party across the board. If you truly sit back and think about it, the odds of all candidates from any one political party being extremely ethical and truly “for the people,” are slim to none. Citizens need to research each candidate individually, and make a determination of their value as a human and a leader, not just assign someone a pre-determined value based on their party affiliation. I know how difficult this can be, but it is very important for our future and for that of our country. Believe me, I cringed more than a little during the last presidential primary when I was told that I had to switch my voter registration from Democrat to Republican temporarily, to be able to select Ron Paul in the Primary Election. I liked many of his ideas, though not all, but we have to learn that no one is going to be in 100 percent agreement with every ideal we have. He was running on the Republican ticket for election, as the Libertarian Party is not yet a major political party (although Ron Paul did run for president on the Libertarian ticket in 1988). I even hid my voter registration card, fearing that someone in my family or group of friends would see it. How ridiculous of me!
One should stand proud to be flexible, open-minded, and educated enough on issues to pick whoever, from any party, is truly the best for the job. Having learned this lesson, I will tell you that I am personally going to go outside of both of my political parties to vote for Jim Mulligan for Mayor of Scranton, rather than his Democratic opponent Bill Courtright. Being a part of the Independent Gazette, I have been privy to all interviews of each candidate, and got to interview Mulligan firsthand. Although he has much more education than Courtright, this did not enter into my decision as much as Mulligan’s outright and honest views on issues and answers to questions, versus Courtright’s somewhat glib, sometimes up-in-the-air answers and views. Also, I researched their histories (which you should also do), and found Mulligan’s reason for running for mayor remarkable. He was out of his car helping a woman in a car accident when another car hit them both on the Expressway near Clarks Summit. In the hospital in a coma for quite some time, Mulligan was unable to feed his wife and nine children, and Scranton residents stepped up, bringing food and lending support to his family during his entire hospital stay. Mulligan feels that he is called to do something to help the people of Scranton in their time of need like they helped him in his. I know, I hate to admit it, too, but yes, there are some good Republicans out there! No, I’m sure I will not agree with some of his policies, but I am willing to concede some things to place in office an honest, sincere person who truly cares about other people and is running for the right reasons.
So before you go to the polls, remember the three main topics I mentioned, and do your part to make our area the best it can be. Make sure you are giving us the power of strong, educated choice, not making us the blind sheep that government under the partisan system would like us to be.
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