Over the next few weeks we will begin seeing declarations of candidacy for political office from many brave souls.
I say “brave” because, after covering political races for far too long, I know a contested race can be one of the most stressful and scarring experiences one can go through.
First-time candidates are often taken by surprise at the vitriol spewed for a race paying virtually no money, offering no real power and very little prestige.
Politicians are open to attacks from both sides of the dais and often walk into a trap without ever looking down. Prestige is not something we offer to politicians running for office, yet the most critical citizens seldom, if ever, run. The one time I saw a high-pitched, self-appointed watchdog get elected it was a disaster of psychotic proportions.
Being vigilant in assessing and questioning candidates and their motives (or agendas) is the responsibility of voters. That is the job in a republic. A voter places someone in office who is to assess and consider the issues. After weighing the various sides, elected officials then make decisions based on their own best judgement. The job is not to simply mouth back what a constituency demands. This is known as the “I voted for you so you have to say what I want” demand. Apparently these folks slept through the republic part of civics.
I don’t think any responsible political official will ever vote down the line to please all. If an official does, he or she is little more than a populist puppet waiting for the friends in the great “community” to say which way is right…or left.
I often hear folks tell me how the politicians are the problems in the country, state or community.
One can make that argument, but voters are part of that bargain. Our job is to listen and question and not just run everything through our “I only want to hear my side” agenda. I see nothing wrong with an agenda. We all have them, mine just happens to be buttermilk. If I could find a candidate to run on the “free buttermilk for me” platform he’d have my vote in heartbeat.
A candidate’s agenda or a voter’s agenda is not the issue or the problem. It is the ability to think outside the agenda. If a candidate’s or voter’s agenda puts them into a steel-sided labyrinth, then there is trouble.
My only observation is to listen to the candidates. Listen to their words and give them a chance to present their side. Their words will tell you what you need to know.
And please let me know if there is a buttermilk candidate out there.
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