It's Who You're Voting For - Not Against
In just a couple of days, we get to vote. It's not a vote for Congress - that's next November. It is also not a vote for the president (although many of us wish it were) - that doesn't happen until 2012. Nonetheless it is an important election, because, these days, all elections are important. So who are you voting for?
Note, I said "for," not against. This has become one of our voting stumbling blocks. I confess I am one of the guilty ones; I have not voted FOR since Ronald Reagan. I did not vote for either Bush; I voted against their opponents. I did not vote for John McCain - I voted against Barack Obama.
I think I've been vindicated there; McCain would have made a far better president than the one we have now. But I still don't think McCain was the optimum choice. Personally, either Huckabee or Romney would have been a better candidate, and maybe one of them might have won.
Like many, I left my heart in San Francisco on more than one occasion, and Tony Bennett's version of that song is impeccable. The City by the Bay is truly a gem. But it also has more than its share of kooks who tend to vote other kooks into office. How else can we explain Nancy Pelosi? Our problem is that we cannot vote for or against her, and she is third in line for the presidency. Only a Republican majority in the House will force her to vacate the speaker's chair. This means voting for winners.
The problem in the picking of candidates lies in yardsticks. How are these people chosen? Too many pickers use one-dimensional yardsticks: abortion, gun control, religion. If a potential candidate fails in only one of those issues, he (or she) is slated for the trash pile. We lose a fair amount of good contenders with that intransigence.
The most important trait should be: Can the candidate for our side beat the candidate for the opposition? Should Romney be discarded because he is a Mormon? Remember that Al Smith lost because he was a Catholic. It took JFK to break that barrier. Should someone become president because it is his turn? Is it time for a black? A Jew? A woman? I can see a time when we could elect a black Jewish woman because she is the best person for the job. Period.
Many of us (perhaps a solid majority) have fears that are brought on by the hold the Democrats have over Congress and the White House. We see a nation headed for bankruptcy and socialism if we do not recapture our government. It is therefore imperative that Republicans pay more attention to which of them runs than they have in the past.
Tea partiers can help. They are growing in numbers and respect, but they have to broaden their aims. Taxes are important but should not be their only consideration. Picking people who can lead and win is paramount.
And little things matter. Driving around, I have noticed signs by the side of the road asking us to vote for one candidate or another. The signs tell a lot. Some are easily read at normal speeds and can be seen from good distances. Others are subtle, sophisticated and can only be discerned if you park and get out of the car. Not a winning idea. Garish is good-subtle is not.
Let us never forget that we cannot change things unless our team wins. We cannot block evil unless our team wins. We cannot take our country back unless our team wins. Let us also remember that our team cannot win unless we vote. Tuesday's election is, on the surface, not that important. However, we must look beneath the surface and recognize that, from here on out, all elections are important.
Let us show America that we care about it. Let's get out the vote.
Allan Jefferys, a former New York theater critic and newsman, lives in Pinehurst. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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