As the closing days of the campaign season wind down, things are getting progressively uglier (and many of us truly believed that simply wasn't possible). Accusations fly back and forth like angry buzzing bees. Everyone is so convinced that they are right and the other guy is wrong. Neighbors and friends are even speaking harshly to each other regarding which candidate should be elected at all levels of government. But I submit to you, that perhaps we are asking the wrong questions entirely before going to the polls. I suggest that instead of worrying about what any candidate feels personally about a given topic such as state's rights, abortion, immigration (legal and illegal), the economy, education, we start worrying about what truly matters....What is the record of this candidate? What have they done, in their business life, their community life, their faith/religious life, and perhaps already, in their political life. And how do their actions speak to the issues that each and every one of us feel is important or a greater priority. Anyone can say anything at any time, and if called out for their discrepancies, always plead that they were misquoted or taken out of context, or not allowed to finish their explanation. Remember when we were all little kids???? I am sure that many of us had a Grandmother who used to say that actions speak much louder than any words. (The same Grandmother who used to tell us that we could be judged by the company we kept.) Regardless of what race is being considered, and regardless of anyone's personal leanings toward one party policy or another, in the final analysis, the only thing we have to make our decision is the hard fact of a person's actions. That takes a little effort and a little digging in some cases, but given the nature of this site, research methodology and use of the internet is nothing new to the folks who frequent the site in pursuit of a hobby interest. Well, what is decided at the polls is not history, but it will make history, and create boundaries on how each and every one of us lives-at least until the next election season. So perhaps it behooves us to take time away from our avocations and hobbies and devote the same energy and diligence to feeling confident that the votes we cast were used in the best possible way.
None of us will ever agree wholeheartedly with another human being in every area, and yet we seem to expect to be in total accord with those seeking political office. We get frustrated and disappointed when our personal issues are not addressed immediately, or in the way we envisioned. We seem to forget that ours is a representative form of government, with representative being the operative word. "Of the people, by the people, and for the people" are the words of our greatest document. Maybe we should look at records and determine which of our choices has done the greatest good for the greatest number in their service. And maybe that "good" didn't include our favorite or most passionate concern, but how many of us share the exact same vision? Which candidate has truly represented those within their community, state, or other category. I think that I might respect and support a candidate who had the moral gumption to fly in the face of their personal conviction on a given issue, because the majority of their constituency felt differently. I could truly support somebody that might be personally anti-abortion, but could look beyond that personal conviction to see that the majority of folks they represented felt more moderate-perhaps pro-choice, or even, if a majority believed the total opposite. Our elected officials are to be representing us, not telling us what to believe in speeches and rhetoric. And we, also, have to accept that sometimes our view is not the view of the majority. Translation: As children, we all had to learn to play together and compromise. By definition, that meant that none of us got our own way all of the time, or perhaps didn't get everything our own way. Don't you remember, the kids who insisted on being the boss always were usually the ones that nobody wanted to play with?
Living in a society such as ours is an evolutionary process. We are still growing and learning as individuals, but as a nation as well. The election process and our constitution give us the freedom, the elasticity, if you will, to grow and change, and to even retrace our steps and try a new approach. And sometimes, the new approach disappoints and we are free to resume the way things were. Don't ever feel that your contribution to this process of voting is a waste. Don't ever allow anyone to tell you what you think-as that is wholly your own, but do think. And finally, don't consider any candidate who seems to put themselves above the government that they hope to become part of, who feels that the system is so failed that it cannot be repaired, who feels that the individuals (it was individuals that made the Declaration of Independence and formulated our first Constitution, and it wasn't an easy process by any stretch) are not capable of making intelligent decisions on their own. Protect your self determination, your right to live your life as you see fit and proper. We have laws to protect society and insure safe communities, but beware of laws that are more individual in nature-that eat away at the very guarantees of the constitution. And beware of those who promise monetary prosperity if you are willing to give up personal freedom in exchange. What good is money if you can't spend it as you choose?
History has shown that so many monumental decisions were decided by a narrow margin. If you happen to be on the side that isn't successful, you would always wonder if your failure to contribute your time, consideration and your vote might have made a difference. So I encourage everyone to think as Americans rather than as Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Independents. Instead look at the choices in terms of who will truly represent those that they seek to represent, who can put aside their personal views to accomplish good for the greatest number. No one person, candidate, or political office has the power to address and cure all of society's ills. And alot of societal ills could be better addressed in a grass roots setting, starting back in families, communities and spreading to the greater society at large. Not all problems require that more money be thrown at them. As a society, we do a great deal of that, and the success is a mixed bag at best. Of those things that government should be involved in, according to our constitution, how many of these candidates who hope to win us over with promises, will actually keep those promises while being able to remain within the framework of the constitution and government that they swear allegiance to. History has shown past leaders who have trompled all over the constitution and law of this country in order to make good on promises. In the long run, the promises kept were of short duration and limited satisfaction, but what we lost as a nation, in terms of personal freedom had far reaching consequences.
It is my hope that everyone can think about candidates, races, and political offices in a broader context. We all get wrapped up in the day to day struggles of living, and sometimes that translates into thinking that our difficulties are the only ones out there. Every once in awhile, we need a more comprehensive perspective. But there is a caution and a danger in that as well, because we don't want to become so global, that we are setting goals that simply are too broad to be achieved by any entity, be it individual or government. If we make those unattainable goals, we are setting whomever we elect up for failure, censure, and our frustrations collectively. We don't live in a perfect world, or a perfect country-and probably never will, because there will always be special interests and special needs, and just plain greed for power, wealth, prestige...Don't blame our government for the human condition, and don't expect our politicians to be above the human condition, because none of us are.