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What About This . . .? By Wayne William Cipriano

Here it is again! An election coming up.  I don’t know how many we have, on whatever timetable, but it seems we are called to the polls very frequently. For a while now I have been peeling the “I voted” stickers off and putting them inside my closet door. I counted them a minute ago. 17! And it doesn’t seem that I’ve been sticking them up there for all that long.

I’m sure you’ve heard that this is the most important election we have ever had. Just like every other one. But, in a sense, it really is since it will change the future in some way, no doubt, and all the previous elections can’t. Yes, a silly bit of sophistry, but whatever works, right? And it really is sort of important that more of us vote.

I remain an advocate of party politics above the county level (where the people who are running for office actually do the work), but the party we choose to support should be the one that is best for our country, not simply reflect one or two of the popular, back and forth wedge issues that seem to dominate elections so often. And since there is but one issue that separates Republicans and Democrats clearly and year after year, it shouldn’t be that difficult to make the choice.

What about Independents? Are they contemplative non-joiners who evaluate each candidate and each issue hoping that candidate can get things desired done, that issue will prevail based on its goodness and utility? Are they flighty uninformed types continually distracted by the next shiny object dangled before them, unaffected by what happens at the end of each election and stay that way until the next? Or, something else?

How much does voting the full party ticket add to the sharp and seemingly unbridgeable positions we see today? I would say, not all that much. It is not, in my opinion, that there are differences, that pretty much has to be in any group of thinking persons. It is more that those differences become unbridgeable when compromise becomes a synonym for treason, and that’s not necessarily a function of party politics, but more one of individual political gain over the general good.

I’ve always hoped that politicians who do the best for all the people they represent would be supported in their next election so they can do more of the same. But what we see a lot of today is politicians never getting around to doing what they should do, what they promised to do, because it might offend enough people to endanger those politicians’ reelection. 

It seems to be a sad but possibly true belief in political life that pleased voters quickly forget what pleased them, but displeased voters never forget a thing. So, a long political career is often based on walking a tightrope between giving voters (or at least a plurality of them) what they want without angering two of them enough to lose their votes. A very difficult task for those seeking that long political career. I realize this reads as very jaded and ignores those politicians who devote themselves completely to doing the right thing and letting the electoral chips fall where they may…

Parenthetically, this is where a lot of pressure for term limits resides. As the possibility of multiple reelections disappears, politicians do not risk anything by doing what’s right when that action may displease those back home. They can’t be reelected anyway. Of course, that only applies to the last term a politician can serve, but it is a start, right? Unfortunately, or perhaps not, like so many other admittedly effective methods of efficient political control (absolute monarchies, dictatorships, fascism, theocracies, oligarchies, and so forth), term limits fly directly in the face of a free republic.

A political party that supports most of my views, but is open to a rational compromise that benefits the country (or state), is not impossible to imagine, just, it seems, recently untried.

I seem to be writing this article in one form or another every couple of elections, hoping to remind and motivate readers to register and vote. I try, though Rosalie tells me I do so fairly unsuccessfully, to keep my druthers out of the articles. In my own defense, however, let me state that it is a mathematical truth that every person who ignores my prodding to vote and stays home on election day magnifies the power of my vote which I cast every time I get the opportunity,

But, I would never say that is a good thing, would I?