Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Election Exercise #4: Knowing My Candidates

note: smarty pants posts are my routine thoughts on current events.  And even though we're all getting terribly tired of it, the elections are indeed current....

These days it's good to be a candidate for a federal office.  Lots of media coverage, fancy commercials, interviews and sound bites and snazzy websites....  Of course, it costs a fortune, but at least the people know who you are!

When I say that I want to know my candidates this election, then, I'm not talking about those candidates.  Rather, I'm talking about the other ones--the candidates running for local councils and state seats and county posts.  The candidates who don't have money to spend on commercials and snazzy websites.  The faces I'll never see on the evening news or morning talk shows or hear on the mainstream radio.

These are the candidates that I need to research a little more.  I need to at least know their basics: their names, experience, philosophy and background.  For some of them (like my local city council members, for instance), I can't even fall back on the golden standard, the party affiliation, because affiliation isn't even listed.  So I need to know something more.  I need to do my homework.

And how?  Well, I'm finding that the local newspaper is a great place to start for coverage on local candidates.  In addition to the myriad of opinion letters that my local peers write-in to the paper regularly, there are also the "get-to-know" pieces that most papers run during an election cycle.  Plus there are the local blogs.  And the various leaflets and pamphlets that are circulating about town.

And why do I think it's important to know about these people?  Because I'm convinced that their decisions impact my life at least as much as the federal decisions do.  Plus, they are usually Way more accessible if I have questions or concerns.  And I think they--and the unglamorous offices they are running for (often while also holding down regular jobs)--balance out the rather sensationalized and expensive business of politics these days.  

And because I genuinely appreciate the sacrifice they are making, I think they deserve my informed vote, not just my absent-minded-fill-in-the-blank vote.

Share your thoughts on this up-coming election by commenting here or emailing me at shillberry@comcast.net.

Read about previous Election Exercise posts:

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