My co-worker and fellow blogger shared this article with me in which the columnist challenged people, in the new year and the new decade, to look at a few things through fresh eyes. The writer listed 52 suggestions, one for every week of the year. This week’s topic is your elected leaders
Today is city election day for several seats on the school board and the city council. I’m not voting today because I don’t live in the city limits. But a good friend’s brother is running for city council so I’ve paid attention to that race for that reason, even sporting the candidate’s bumper sticker on my car to help with the campaign. (I used to live in the district and still drive in that area daily. Every little bit helps, right?)
But even when I lived in the city I didn’t pay close attention to local races like city council and school board. In the last mayoral race I kinda did. I paid enough attention to decide who I wanted to win, but even now I can’t recall on what I based my choice. (The one I wanted to win won and is about to sign into law a ban on texting while driving. I don’t like the ban, so I know I didn’t choose him on that issue.) The worst part is, I know better than to be so apathetic. I know that I am more affected in my day-to-day life by those making local decisions than those making decisions on the national scene, yet I pay more attention to the big races than the ones here at home. In 12 years as a voting citizen, the races I have paid the most attention to were the ones I covered for the newspaper — in a town I couldn’t even vote in.
That’s sad that I don’t care more than I apparently do. And I say “apparently” because I do care just not enough to invest any time or effort into it, or rather to sacrifice other things I do to read up on issues and candidates. I care more about other things — sillier things to be sure — than I do about local government. I care about the outcome of course, but I should be more proactive in earlier stages. I care if there’s an issue I’m passionate about or a person I’d like to see win. I am selfishly apathetic, only caring once I’m affected or once I realize how I am affected.
My pet peeve with any election is this: if you don’t vote don’t complain because you didn’t try to do anything about it. You have no cat in that fight, as the saying goes. I often find myself on the wrong side of my own opinion, however, not able to complain because I didn’t take the time to investigate the issues and the candidates and make an informed decision and vote.
Which gets to my other pet peeve I have about voting, and that is: uninformed voters. Don’t vote if you don’t know the candidates or the issues or what you’re voting for. That’s just silly and risky. Don’t go to the polls and vote for a woman named Cindy because Cindy is a nice name or a man named whatever because that was the name of your high school boyfriend. You are better off staying at home and not voting at all than to make mindless decisions that could have great impact. Every vote counts, both sound votes and silly ones.