27 October 2014

'Tis the Season - for Voting

I object to unsolicited, unwanted political calls.  I know when election day is.  I know when and where early voting is.  I know how to apply for and execute an absentee ballot.  And I know how to find the specific details I need when I'm ready to vote. 

I'm tired of candidate mail, e-mail, and phone calls, especially the bot calls  because "their people" have access to records that show I have not voted yet.   I haven't given permission for my voting history to be accessible to political party honchos so they can feel free to dog me until I do vote.   I'll vote when I'm damned good and ready and none of the political advertisements, good or bad, influence my choice in a positive way.   

That political party dupes are manipulatively dogging me to vote only encourages me NOT to vote for the candidate who are the subject of their calls.  That some of the calls are financed by out of state funders who want to manipulate elections is beyond unconscionable.  When the calls solicit my vote by gossiping about  the other candidates and trying to create scandal (some of which is actual slander), and because they all do it, my only choice is to vote for whomever does the least mud-slinging.  I doubt that is the best way to choose a candidate,  but given that human decency is at the top of my list, at least it is the process available to me to weed out the worst candidates i.e. those who engage in the most mud-slinging. 

I would prefer to vote based on the needed skills I think a candidate will bring to the office, and top of the list is how willing a candidate is to educate the constituency, and as importantly to be educated by the constituency when factual efforts (rather than mere opinion) are made by knowledgeable constituents.  However, without human decency the other abilities of a candidate diminish in their relevancy, in my opinion, since each candidate has at least the minimum ability to fulfill the responsibilities of the office for which he or she is running.  When I pick up the phone to hang up, after the bot recording starts, and do not have the advantage of knowing to what extent the candidate wants to gossip about other candidates (some is factual, some is slanderous), then my secondary method for weeding out who I vote for is to vote for the person who has not called or who has called the least number of times. 

I have lived in states which actually enable and promote democratic process.   I have yet to consider where I live as one of these state.  Why is that?  How about this, or more specifically the absence of this.  Consider a state that creates a publication each election which simply states the facts.  It presents each candidate, no matter the party - including third parties; it presents each issue, changes in the law; referendums and initiatives are included.  A short version describing these is in the front of the publication.  A long version of the actual laws and/or proposed changes, is in the back of the publication.  A very short pro and con of a few sentences  is also offered for each candidate and issue which has only to do with the facts.  The publication is objective.  There is no mud-slinging.   The publication is delivered to every mailbox, voter or not, citizen or not.   An effort is made to educate the voters.  That is priceless.  Additionally, at the poles the flag is proximately placed and visible so that it is easy to find the voting location; this is not the case where I have voted, nor when I have worked at the polls on election day.

All states would be well advised to use political contributions to produce and distribute such a publication rather than subsidizing the advertising of party mud-slinging.  Instead it seems where I live that government at all levels  relishes underestimating both the intelligence and concern of  voters and everyone else.   Everyone is affected by the results of election day, citizen or not, monetary contributor or not.  Everyone has the right to know about the candidates and the issues whether or not they qualify to vote, whether or not they contribute to campaigns.   

Bottom line:  everyone should have the right to have easy  access to an objective printed publication detailing candidates and issues.  When that happens in my state it will come much closer to actually enabling and promoting democratic process instead of government by the favored system:  "ol' boy/ol' girl, its who you know and/or how much money you contribute".