FROM THE DESK OF JIM MADIGAN:
I find I am running out of ways to express the insanity and downright, utter meanness of the 2016 Presidential campaign…so I’ve decided I’m really not going to talk about that in this post. You’ve seen the debates and watched the TV news and read the papers – or you haven’t — as your personal interest and tastes dictate. I do hope you watched “The Choice” on FRONTLINE on PBS and WGBY this week. There was a lot of great material there to help you make your own choice this election if you haven’t yet made up your mind. I believe you can find the program through our website at wgby.org.
No, what I’m going to do here is urge you to reject the feeling that “all the candidates, all politicians, really — are bad and lie to us all the time about everything”, so what’s the difference? Why bother to even vote if I’m just picking between the lesser of evils? Please don’t give in to that kind of cynicism and negativism.
First of all, politicians aren’t all bad and they don’t all lie to us all the time.
Do we need to be skeptical, informed voters taking a very careful look at what those who would lead us are saying? You bet we do. Do we need to realize that office-seekers will try to put the best face on who they are, what their record is and how things they are proposing will really impact our life and our society? Of course we do – but let’s be honest ourselves. That’s human nature. We all tend to think we are right and have the best ideas and will present the best possible version of ourselves to someone we want to impress or gain something from. Granted, most of us aren’t asking for votes to put us in positions of power to decide how our community, state or nation is run – so of course the stakes aren’t as high as for people the people who seeking high office. Still what they do and how they act –is generally just an expansion and enlargement of how we all act and relate to each other all the time.
What I’m trying to say is simply that those people who want to lead us – whether for President, Member of Congress, State Legislator or Selectperson — are human. They are not perfect. They’ve made mistakes and always will. Looking for perfection or wanting a candidate you agree with 100% of the time just isn’t going to happen. That’s life.
That’s why I have a hard time accepting it when I hear someone say “I don’t like any of the candidates. I’m not going to vote.” Now, in a free, democratic society – it is your right and your choice if you don’t want to choose – but I think it’s a mistake. I know it sounds like a “Fourth of July” speech – but it is our duty as citizens to look carefully at the candidates and find someone we think represents what’s best – and not just for us and our own family and interests – but for all.
It’s not easy –and I’m not promising that you are going to find a candidate you truly “like” to vote for – but I believe you will find some issue, some factor, some candidates’ proposal that matters to or impacts you in each and every election. That should compel you to go and vote and to tell your friends why and what it is that compels you to do so. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by some of the interesting and informative conversations you’ll have as you hear why others agree — or disagree — with your take. Maybe they’ll even change your mind – or you’ll change theirs—but I know for sure you will learn something and you’ll feel better about yourself for deciding to be part of the democratic process.