Monday, November 3, 2008

A Different Take

A Different Take

It’s mine turn to do the obligatory election post. I’ve read some wonderfully thoughtful blog posts about the election. Not just about who people are voting for, but also about teaching children about the importance of voting. It’s amazing how many different opinions people have on the election, and how many different experiences we each have.

I have strong feelings about who I’m voting for, like I always do. It’s never been difficult for me to make up my mind. But, I’m not going to share them here, because that’s not what I think is the most important thing during this election.

So, what do I think is more important than the Presidential election? I think every other election that is going on is more important. Crazy, I know. But think about it. We have this wonderful system of government that is set up to keep any one person from having too much power, the system of checks and balances. Yes, the President plays a role in this, but many of the issues that the presidential candidates are talking about actually fall to the Congress to draft and enact. So please, educate yourselves on who is running, and what their stances are. Don’t just flip the party lever.

And please don’t forget about your local elections as well. Your state and local governments often have a bigger impact on your lives than what goes on at the Federal level. No, the elections don’t get as much press, but they tend to impact you more. If you are concerned about things like green space in your neighborhood, the local public schools, local taxes, the quality of your storm drainage, and many of the smaller issues that hit so close to home, then please educate yourselves and vote for the people who will support your vision. Don’t just flip that party lever.

This year, my biggest election quandary is who to vote for the PA house. It’s a close battle for control between the two parties, and I’d really like my party to win. However, our local Representative - from the other party – has been outstanding. The man goes door to door in the middle of the summer to make sure that he meets as many of his constituents as possible. He sends out frequent reminders to everyone with his office locations and all of the services he can provide for us. For as long as I’ve lived in my current home, he has worked for the people of my community. So, he’s going to get my vote, even though he’s not a member of my party.

So, whoever you are voting for, please, do your homework and make your choices based on the issues. Don’t just pull that party lever.


Maria said...

You are awesome! This post is exctly why I love your blog. I agree with you that in elections like this we tend to pay less attention to our local issues and why we should work harder to adress these. Rock On!

Beth said...

I couldn't have said it better myself! No matter how many grand ideas McCain and Obama have for their health care plans or tax plans or energy plans, none of it will happen unless Congress (House AND Senate) acts on it. And the end product will likely not be the same as what was proposed. And YES YES YES on how much impact your local city council or board or whatever has on your daily life. Pay attention peoples!!!!

Heidi O said...

Thank you for your perspective. I agree you vote for what the person is doing and what they bring to the table. Presidents have limited power for a reason and they have to be able to work with congress to enact laws. This season here, it is all about the judges and not so much other local officials. It has been interesting to see the judges campaigning.

Zoey's Mommy said...

I think local elections are so much more important than the national ones. Also, you want to make sure you've read all the info on your state proposals. This is going to sound so bad, but until about 4 weeks ago, I had NO clue about what one of the Michigan ones were all about! But I've done my homework, and I'm fairly sure on how I'm voting. Anyways, thanks so much for posting this!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree about the importance of local and congressional elections. I am very eager to see how things turn out in that regard.

I disagree with you about not voting based on party though. I hear this argument all the time that it's somehow not thoughtful to vote based on party rather than person, but I simply don't understand it. I vote based on the issues. My party's platform aligns far more closely with my opinions on the issues than the opposing party's platform. Of course, there are probably exceptions, but I have yet to encounter one (and I consider myself fairly well informed on local and national politics).

Help me understand!


Joanna said...

Stacey - It's fine to pull the party lever if you have done your homework and agree that the party candidates support your issues. I'm a very conservative democrate, so some of my beliefs align better with the more liberal republicans than some of the very liberal Democrates. In PA, one of the Republicans that always gets my vote is Arlen Spector. His track record speaks very well for him.

I've also found that on the towship level, party doesn't mater as much around here, because the issues I care about are not necessarily part of a party line. I care a lot about land use planning and the preservation of open spaces as well as education, and party doesn't really seem to factor in on the candidate's stance.

So, I understand what you ar saying. On a Federal Level, issues do play a larger role in how I vote. But, being as close to middle of the line as I am, I do find that there are Republicans I agree with, and Democrates I don't.

I hope I made a little bit of sense there.

Anonymous said...

Joanna, thanks for the explanation. I've thought about this over the last several days in response to a co-worker's husband's fury over seeing the list of our union's recommended candidates (all Democrats). As a very progressive Democrat, there just aren't any issues on which I'd agree with most Republicans. In terms of local elections, the Democrats around here tend to be very pro-union and pro-public education which are important to me.

Slightly off topic, I used to think there was no such thing as a moderate, but reality seems to contradict theory there.


P.S. Specter is pretty tolerable for a Republican, but I don't think I could bring myself to vote for him. I'm just happy my trusty Senator Carl Levin (Specter's contemporary) is set to win by a landslide tomorrow.

Zoey's Mommy said...

Stacey, I'm voting for Carl Levin today too!

Steph said...

Joanna- I did exactly that today!

Anonymous said...

Amanda, I really like Levin. His brother is my U.S. Representative and he'll probably get 80% or more of the votes for his district. I'm eagerly following the proposals.

(Sorry to hijack your blog comments with MI talk, Joanna)