Monday, April 21, 2008

Issues, Integrity, and Involvement

Fran Alexander, one of my favorite columnists, offered up a little wisdom from long experience in local politics in today's paper. It is worth repeating and sharing, I believe, because she knows of what she speaks.

In my early voting years," she confessed, "I was more issue oriented in choosing my favorite runners, but now after suffering the slings and arrows of hoodwinking, schmoozing and downright lying from some whom I have supported, I’m more prone to first determine how a person rates on integrity. Some people cannot even define integrity with both hands on a dictionary so, when I find a person I believe I can trust and who will listen, these traits far outweigh how much detail they may currently know about my particular, passionate issue. I figure if they are interested enough to listen, inquisitive enough to learn, and question enough to indicate they can think critically, then they care enough to hold an office, where they will make decisions that directly affect me and the town I live in."

Then, Alexander adds another element that weighs heavily in her decision -- whether the candidates have been involved in the details of government and public affairs for some time, or whether they just recently decided it would be neat to get their pictures in the paper and stroke their ego. "
So far this season Fayetteville has had several candidates announce for the aldermen races and four announce for mayor. ...As announcements are made and Web sites created, as handshaking begins in earnest and campaign materials are printed, we need information about these people. I am always curious, for example, why if I’ve never seen some of them at City Hall. Politics, after all, is not an isolated homebound sport."

That's good advice all around. Take heed as you consider the candidates, and you'll be more likely to make a better choice.

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