Advice for candidates
If you voted in the August primary, I hope you noticed that nowhere on the ballot was a box marked “Against Candidate A.”
Now is a good time to put down mud balls and poison arrows. Take the target off the other person’s heart and tell me why I should vote for you not against your opponent. Tell me where you stand on the issues, what you believe, what changes you want to see, and the direction our state and country are heading.
Forget the meaningless labels nearly every candidate is tossing around and tell me exactly what I can expect from you if you are elected.
The campaign trail is essentially an extended job interview. Give me substance not sound bites. How will our state and country be better if you are elected? Be specific. What is right and wrong with the system? What needs to be improved or what needs to be trashed?
Instead of telling me who you are going to fight against, tell me how you plan to work with other elected officials to improve daily life for me as well as the future for my children and grandchildren.
Neither celebrity nor alphabet soup endorsements impress me. Instead of proclaiming your endorsement by this special interest group or that political action committee, tell me what common priorities and goals you share. If a specific interest group is funding your campaign, acknowledge your shared legislative agenda. Truth in advertising does apply to politics.
A fact should be able to stand on its own. When you are discussing taxes, budgets, or government spending, please do not slant the figures so they are recognizable only to someone who shares your ideology.
When you discuss your opponent’s voting or spending record, treat the importation as impartially as you will want your future challenger to treat yours.
While the American melting pot has room for a vast array of political beliefs and ideals, the political arena is better suited to reasoned discourse than mud wrestling brawls.
Therefore, until the term “politician” is a job description and not an insult, I will be going through my mail standing next to the trashcan.
Until the person listed on the ballot above you is recognized as a worthy opponent and not a target to be destroyed, I will be watching television with my finger poised above the mute button.
Until viable candidates make personal contact with ordinary people, I will go through the messages on my answering machine with my finger on the delete button.
Our state and country desperately need dedicated men and women committed to public service. We urgently need representatives willing to ignore partisanship, denounce one-upmanship, and make the difficult choices necessary to steer the state to a better, brighter future for each current and future citizen.
When the best candidates for the future of our state and country are elected, we all will win.
I am Jane Q. Public. Please embrace this message.
Last modified Aug. 11, 2010