In case you just woke from a long summer nap, there is a mid-term election on November 2.
I say that to the more than 65% of registered voters that probably won’t bother to participate. There are fewer things every year that differentiate us from other countries in the world, but the freedom to cast a vote without fear of reprisal is still an important right to American citizens.
But the right to participate doesn’t necessarily mean we have all the information we need to cast an “educated” vote. I am a dyed-in-the-wool independent. Over the course of my voting lifetime (38 years) I have probably voted for as many Democrats as Republicans with a few “independent” and “no selection” ballots thrown in for good measure. To get my vote a candidate needs to tell me what they believe (versus their opponent) and how they will work for (or against) issues that important to me.
I say “work for” because I don’t believe any candidate that says they “will change the way Washington (Springfield, Madison County, Bethalto) does business.” I have voted in many elections, but I have yet to see a ballot that allows us to vote for “king” or “dictator”. Our government process is a three-legged stool of Executive, Legislative and Judicial design, so no candidate is going to do anything on their own.
The vast majority of the political ads I am bombarded with daily do little but infuriate me. We know what is at stake – 20% or so will only vote for a Democrat, and 20% or so only a Republican. The attack ads target the 60% in the middle – many of which will sort of remember a name when they get to the ballot box. That scares me.
You don’t have to take a “Current Events” quiz or pass an IQ test before voting, but I am concerned when anyone casts a vote based on attack ads that are carefully crafted (and liberally exaggerated) to tell us what the other guy did wrong. You want my vote? Tell me what you are going to do right.