Monday, September 5, 2016


Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair

     Let the sprint begin!  Most voters don’t really start paying attention to the November election until after Labor Day.  In the next 60 days, the intensity level will increase in politics- candidates and campaigns will become more visible, and mailboxes will start to fill up with campaign material.  Just some suggestions when vetting candidates:
     First, all candidates tell you their strengths, but not their weaknesses.  You will see words like experience, leadership, character, integrity, honesty, reliability, and accessibility on campaign literature. The one attribute most candidates’ check at the door is humility.  Being honest, reliable, and having experience are important, but knowledge of the duties of the position, the issues, and why they are running for office are far more important than positive attributes.  Most voters are fed up with their government.  A recent NY Times poll found that over 50% of Americans are disappointed with their elected officials.  In a self-governed system of government, we only have ourselves to blame.  Until voters vet their candidates, the blame lies with the voters.  Unfortunately, the most qualified person frequently doesn’t win- it’s the candidate with the best marketing plan, but until the general population gets engaged in their government- and stays engaged- we can expect more of the same.  Buy a bigger mailbox.
     Second, ask candidates tough questions and hold them accountable.  No matter what some elected officials believe, the position they hold belongs to the public- it is not theirs.  They are public servants- they work for the people.  Any candidate or elected official unwilling to answer a tough question or who lacks the temperament to handle criticism is unfit for office.    Candidates and elected officials shouldn’t publically spar with constituents.  They should be respectful and be willing to justify their position on an issue.  To do otherwise defines them as unfit.  As Harry Truman said, “If you can’t handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen.” 
     Third, a candidate’s worldview will guide their decision making process.  A worldview comprises one's collection of presuppositions, convictions and values from which a person tries to understand and make sense out of the world and life. A worldview is how a candidate consciously or unconsciously place or fit everything they believe and by which they will interpret and judge reality.  How a candidate views the fundamental nature of man is critical.  If they believe that man, by nature, is born with an inherent sin nature, they will govern differently than someone who believes man is born with a spark of divinity.  If an elected official presupposes that truth is not absolute, but relative, they will make decisions far different from those with a definitive truth worldview. 
     Candidates spend their money and resources to ‘define’ themselves in the voter’s mind.  It’s the meticulous, thorough voter’s job to cut through the fluff and determine how a candidate will perform as an elected official.  Will they govern consistent with your values?  Can they handle pressure?  Do they have a proper temperament?  Can they handle criticism?  Do they believe that truth is absolute?  What guides their decision making process?  Don’t vote solely on personality or likeability.  Vote Smart- vet the candidates.  
      Candidates and elected officials come and go, but our government goes on.  One of the most disappointing things is when former elected officials ‘drop out’ when they leave office.  That simply sends the message that it was all about them and not about the cause.  As Jefferson said, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”        

No comments: