The Year of the Vote

editorial-logo3This week Republican candidates for various offices got together for a meet and greet with members of the Republican Party. It was more along the lines of an introduction to the candidates and was the unofficial kick off for voting season. Sure, there is still time for petition pick ups and turn ins before the deadline and there have been some late to the game candidate surprises, but time is winding down for those looking for a spot on the May ballot. Of course, the May Primary will be followed by elections in August and November. 2018 will be the year of the vote.

Sometimes, as I am listening to one candidate or the other make their case that he or she is the only candidate that should be considered for said office, my thoughts drift to other elections in other times and the impact that they have had on the course of our county, state, and nation. It is in those moments, which are admittedly prompted by boredom, that I realize just how important it is to vote and how crucial it is to have people willing to put themselves out there as candidates. Everyone goes into the election process hoping to be a winner, but the hard truth is that there are many more losers than winners every election cycle. Not everyone has the heart for public service, the stomach for politics, or the confidence to face the potential for a public loss. There are few losses that are more public than the loss of an election, and,while the party line may be that the loss should not be taken personally, how else could it reasonable be taken? It is very personal for a candidate that has placed their time, money, and reputation on the line and been told, “no thanks.”

With that thought in mind, I hope that this election year can be as pure and clean as possible. While we are judging which candidate will get our vote, let’s be sure that we are judging the qualifications and not looking to air the dirty laundry of those that were hardy enough to put themselves out there in the quest for office. Is everyone’s motivation the same? Nope. And questionable motives are an acceptable reason to shift support. But we should remember that most of us are just wading in shades of gray, and there are very few black and white moments in the real lives of real people.

As more candidates emerge in the next few days, weeks, and months, consider their qualifications with the same amount of gravity that you would any decision that might have great influence on your daily life. Remember that the election process, no matter how messy or tedious, is still a tremendous privilege and responsible voting is the responsibility of every eligible citizen. Don’t squander the privilege and right that many have been willing and ready to die for, just because it is too much trouble to register to vote or cast a ballot. And, while you are at it, encourage one person to register to vote and to go to the polls. It is the best kind of paying it forward.

Source: K. Depew, News Director