Common Sense and Civility, Please

From my early childhood, I have been a political junkie. Yes, I will admit it, I am probably one of the only third graders who watched both party’s national conventions — not because we didn’t have cable and there was nothing on — but because I thought they were cool.

And yes, when I was in college, I spent one weekend every month participating in the North Carolina Student Legislature debating issues that were of importance to our state and country. And yes, while in high school, I was on the parliamentary procedures team and know Robert’s Rules forward and backwards. So you can guess that with the political season getting underway in our fair city and state, I am avidly watching and listening to what candidates have to say.

08-07-13-pub-notes.gifAnd I am somewhat saddened.

We have only just begun the season and already the claws are out and the nastiness has started. I don’t want you to tell me what’s wrong with your opponent, I want you to tell me what’s right about you. I can figure out what’s wrong with both of you. I want to see campaigns that offer real solutions, not campaigns that simply slam their opponent’s ideas. That’s easy. Showing me how you will fix a problem is the hard part.

I also want candidates who know the left and right limits of what they can and cannot do in the office to which they aspire. I do not want a candidate running for the school board to tell me they will decrease the size of my child’s class. That’s just not possible. I also don’t want candidates running for mayor to tell me they will lower the national debt, bring world peace and solve global warming. I want them to tell me how they will 관ght crime in our city, bring jobs to our community and run our city like a business. Anything else and you are just blowing smoke. I know it. The other voters know it, and hopefully so do you.

I also want candidates to be educated — primarily on the jobs they are hoping to take on — but also on how other factors impact that job. I would be lying if I didn’t add that I also want you to know how to put together a cogent, well-thought-out plan for what you hope to achieve while in office.

And, while I am at it, I want you to serve the term you are elected for to the best of your ability and not spend that time in office campaigning for another term or for another office. If I’ve wasted my precious vote on you, you better make it worth my while.

I also expect you to act in a civil manner not only to those who support you, but also to those who do not. Denigrating someone because they don’t share your opinion is a mark of true ignorance. I listen to those who are so far removed from what I believe and try to take something away from what they say, because they might just have something worth hearing.

I beg of you to let common sense reign in all that you say and do. Don’t make big promises and write checks that your office and position can’t cash. That does nothing but muddy the waters and confuse people who really are just searching for answers.As noted in the movie The American President, if you are running for office, then be prepared to lead. We as a community are thirsty for leadership — and while you may be able to confuse some people into believing what you are offering is just that — some of us will see past that if you don’t know what leadership really is.

In the coming months, you will see a lot about campaigns in the pages of this paper — just look to the next page. We will allow all candidates to express their views. So don’t hammer us because you think we are too liberal or too conservative. We aren’t. We are simply members of the Fourth Estate who want our community to see all sides of the issue.

My love for politics has not dimmed with age, but I no longer view it through the eyes of a child. I see it for what it is — a sometimes dirty necessity that is one of the greatest freedoms that we have.

This political season, inform yourselves. Educate yourselves and, yes, this is my 30-second sound bite, vote. It’s not a right, it’s a privilege.

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