Monday, April 05, 2004
You've probably heard it said that one shouldn't bring up politics or religion into "pleasant conversation". I say, oh why not :) - because those two issues are usually at the forefront of what's popular, what's being talked about all the time anyway. Actually, politics probably leads the way. If you're "religious" you probably talk about your faith and your politics, but those who are more "political" and "non-religious" probably don't tend to bring up the whole religion thing very often.
I'm at a crossroads. Here in the South USA, it's expected that certain people would vote a certain way. College-educated church-goer: Republican. Business-oriented homeowner: Democrat. African-american Christian: Democrat. Caucasian Christian: Republican. There are stereotypes over my voting records, and that's troubling. It means that someone else has already decided what they'll do and say based on what they know-to-be-true about the way I'll vote. But I can't do that: follow the crowd without asking questions and making judgments for myself. I won't be corralled into voting. My vote is too precious to waste it on the lesser of two evils.
So here are some "conclusions" I've come to this morning. These are apt to change as the Spirit leads, I'm sure. Feel free to add your own ideas/comments/complaints to the comments section below.
* As a candidate, you've got to inspire me - not scare me. I've tended to vote conservative and republican. Don't lump me in with the white-southern-christian bandwagon, though. The fact that you're running for office reveals to me a character flaw that probably shows you're unfit for the job. Prove to me that you're capable of leading, and of continuing to lead.
* As a candidate, don't take my vote for granted. There is alot of talk about how Nader cost Gore the election in Florida, taking away thousands of votes that would've gone against Bush and would've avoided the problems we experienced down there. But I disagree. If Gore had wooed those voters, he would've won that state. Instead, in looking for an alternative to GWB, those voters couldn't choose Gore and went elsewhere. Gore beat Gore in Florida, by not successfully inspiring that demographic.
* As a candidate, only part of your campaign can be focused on your historical record, or on your opponents' historical record. I want to know what the trends have been over time, but I reserve the right to determine how these things might play out in the future - which is still an unknown commodity.
* As a candidate, tell me more about the good you intend. Don't spend so much time telling me all the filthy dirt that's covering the other side. I'm relatively smart. If they're bad, I'll know it. I don't mind sharing facts and opinions, but if the only message you've got is "I'm better than him because he's sooooo bad" - forget it. Tell the voters what you intend to do differently, how you intend to right the ship - moreso than how bad it's been or will be with the other side in power.
* As a voter, I don't have a litmus test review for my ballot. There are too many issues to narrow it down to one or two things that I'd like to see happen. If I felt as passionately about them as the pundits seem to think that I (generally) do, I'd be running myself. Don't think I'll vote for you because you're anti-abortion, though that's probably a plus. But if you're against abortion and still a poor leader, I don't know that my vote needs to be cast in your direction. At the same time, if you're a great leader, but seem to have failings in integrity and truthfulness, don't assume I'll be on your campaign donation list, either.
* As a candidate or as a political party, don't ask me for money. Please. Get a life. I kept getting a pop-up message at the Democrats' website: "Donate now - we can't defeat Bush without your help." That's sad, since it seems to me that they're less sure of themselves and their ability to be the party of real inspiration around here... No $$$ - that campaign pitch might win my vote before anything else.
That's it. That's my list. Whew.