Finally, election day is nearly here.
That means we are closing in on the end of a too-long, tiring, and sometimes confusing election season, a time when local, state and national candidates have figured out ways to blitz the public with their message in seemingly more intrusive ways.
And the gist of most of those messages? “I’m right, the other person is wrong. Really, just trust me on that.”
Generally those making such claims throw out some dubious half-truths, or straight-out lies about the opponent, or even about himself or herself, hoping the public swallows those hook, line and sinker.
Unfortunately, much of the voting public has encouraged this, making their decisions based on catchy slogans or inaccurate ads, then dogmatically repeating some talking point heard from a candidate without really stopping to think if it makes sense or if it’s true.
If that all sounds cynical, it should because we grow increasingly concerned that the art of honest, open political discourse is dying in America, and too many now believe they must hold steadfast to their particular belief system, without regard for anyone else, without any willingness to compromise in any way. We suspect had the founding fathers been so dogmatic at the time they hammered out the decision to part ways with the British crown, we likely still would be a colony of the United Kingdom.
Having said all of that, there is still time for residents to step back, spend a little effort over the next two days in really looking at the candidates at various levels of government, see what they say vs. what they have done over their public careers, and then make informed, reasoned choices when casting a ballot.
Nationally, look not at what the political ads say, but look at the individual candidates’ careers. Have they consistently stood for one thing, or flip-flopped based on polls? Do they offer viable plans and ideas, or vague sound bites that simply say the other guy is wrong without offering concrete, thought-out solutions?
Locally, look at candidates in the same light. Do they work for open and transparent government, or do they meet in secret and keep decisions away from public input and scrutiny? Are candidates honest, or do they say whatever is expedient, even if it means throwing others under the bus? Do they understand they represent all the people of their given district or county, or do they cater only to those of one political party?
Ask those sorts of questions before casting a ballot, and then make decisions based on what’s in the best interest of the county, or district, or state as a whole.