Friday, November 19, 2004

Above Average Jane

Above Average Jane

Many of the people who regularly read this site are professional politicos. I’m not. I’m a civilian, a citizen, a voter, involved in my community. In the primary election my household make political contributions in the amount of $30.00, the general around $175.00, split among 3 candidates, so I’m not a high roller by any stretch of anyone’s imagination. In years past I’ve stuffed a few envelopes or made a few phone calls. In one election cycle I played a noticeable behind the scenes role. That’s the extent of my active involvement in politics.

Two of the candidates I contributed to this time around won. Like many voters I stood in the voting booth, pulled the lever and said a silent prayer that if my candidates won they wouldn’t turn into jerks or power hungry thugs. Maybe they already are and it just doesn’t show. Voting is always a crapshoot. The candidates are always around just before the election but the day after? You just don’t know until it’s too late; once entrenched it’s almost impossible to get rid of someone.

Trying to find out about candidates or elected officials is tricky. Savvy voters go to debates, forums, public events, but finding out about them in advance can be difficult. Often only the party faithful are informed of these things and newspaper announcements are usually in small print and appear a matter of days before the event. Working people find it hard to attend daytime events with short notice. You can find candidates at community events, but it isn’t always easy to find out which ones, and they are walkabouts where a handshake and a sentence or two are all you get. It’s almost a game for interested voters – tracking down the wily candidates and trying to find out what they think of the issues. To further muddy the waters candidates will focus on 2 or 3 issues they think most likely to appeal to the voters (and donors). Very few candidates make good use of electronic communication. Web sites are all too frequently graphic rich and content poor. This time around we heard mostly about the war, medical malpractice and property taxes. What are the chances that any of these will be resolved in the next congressional (state or federal) term?

So, as voters rejoice at the end of those awful recorded phone messages and settle in for Thanksgiving feasts, there is the niggling doubt in the back of our minds, the buyer’s remorse that comes after elections. I’m hoping my elected officials turn out to be the quality, intelligent, compassionate people I believed them to be when I pulled the lever. We’ll see.


1 comment:

AboveAvgJane said...

Thanks for your note. I'll be posting more along those lines shortly!