I thought that as an un-enrolled independent voter, I might be spared the onslaught of campaign phone calls telling me who or what to vote for. I was wrong. As we approach election night, the pace has really quickened. Naively, I thought that by giving up a party affiliation and joining the great majority of Massachusetts voters who claim no party at all, that I would be freed up from the barrage of mail and phone calls, the nightly dinner interruptions and the mountain of invitations to fundraisers for candidates whom often I didn’t even know were running. Perhaps I have become the only thing more enticing than a regularly contributing party loyalist? I have now become a potential party recruit. I am now in the category of fresh meat for the feast, new ears for the speech , and a heart and mind that look ripe for the picking.
Polarization is nothing new to politics. Read a newspaper from 200 years ago, and all the elements of news reporting are just as they are today. You can get your fill of negative campaigning, muck raking, and scandalous behavior, from back then, just as you get today. Apparently, what we experience today is the same product of human nature that hasn’t changed for our history. The devil we know is the devil we vote for again and again.
Political candidates have been promising reform, results, and favors for as long as there have been political candidates. Voters have been listening, hoping and believing in those promises for that long too. We all want something better, we’d just rather have someone else do the bettering for us.
As you enter the polls to cast your vote, think of the fact that it’s not fair to blame our politicians, we really need to blame ourselves for voting the politicians into office. Quite simply, we get what we inspect and not what we expect. If we fall for the campaign rhetoric, we then live with the outcome. We have the right to rethink any outcome, every 2-4 years with the next vote. When we don’t do it right, we get the chance to do it over.
Personally, I’m as free as I have ever been to vote for the candidate and not the party. It’s still up to me, as a voter to do my diligence, to make choices for the right, and not just the easy reasons. It’s my job to show up at the polls and it’s on all of us to remind other voters that we have the privilege of doing something on November 4th that many people have given their lives to protect as our right, the right to vote. As you exercise that right this year, count your blessings and savor your opportunities. It’s your vote to cast. Cast it wisely and thoughtfully.
Do your homework and show up prepared on election day!
for a list of the November 4th candidates and ballot questions.