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Saturday, January 15, 2011

It’s Election Time Again

Here we go again with the proliferation of yard signs, billboards, phone calls, emails, mailers, and public debates. For all the money that gets spent on campaigning I wonder how we will fair after elections. I have a few friends running for public office. Regardless of the side you are on the process is one many people including the politicians are glad to see come and go.

What is it that we are voting for in this election? Is it referendums, lower taxes, or simply change? The familiarity of candidates with one another always makes for an interesting side show in small towns where many of the candidates grew up together and their debates are seasoned around long term relationships stemming from as far back as high school.

As an outsider to the political event of election day that elevates some and dismisses others it is equally amusing to watch candidates tear each other down with futile words and angry expressions of how they are right and others are wrong. As an attendee of a public event a few years ago in another city where I was commissioned to do some architectural work I watched as an incumbent mayor stopped the political event to request that all politicians on both sides consider each other’s family this election.

Granted everyone has had situations we all wished we could retract or rephrase. What he meant was that as campaigns geared up and television commercials and ads rolled out that he was soliciting his constituents to try to think of the impact some of the candidates families would experience as a result of others actions. Politics can be a nasty game.

I have seen people who I know to be good people turn ugly when a particular topic is addressed in a political arena. Their passion and drive to be right supersedes their desire to consider others feelings. It seems like a lot of people want the same thing, but disagree with how to get there. I hope that people who don’t get elected still contribute to building our community.

The stage is always set for debate, but when individuals running for office have a proper perspective of life it seems to make decision making for the general public much easier. Who has gained your allegiance this election day? Is it the person with the most yard signs, the best plan, the right party, or the most experience?

The right to vote is something that should be taken seriously and a frequent reminder of the struggles of our not so distant past. Though many people will choose not to participate in this election day, for me it is an opportunity to exercise our right to choose leaders to carry our community to its next phase of existence.
Best wishes to the candidates.

Vote with purpose!

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