Sunday, November 04, 2012

Voting *for* a candidate: a guide

During an election cycle, particularly a long one like a presidential cycle, it's easy to lose sight of why we support this candidate or that candidate, losing ourselves in being against the "other".

The reasons why we support candidate "A" become subsumed by the fact that candidate "B" is an arrogant, avaricious plutocrat or the reasons that we support candidate "X" are drowned in the glare of candidate "Y's" bigotry, corruption, etc.

As easy as voting"against" can be, voting "for" is far more satisfying.  I've been voting for a while now.  Not gonna say how long, but the first presidential ticket that received my vote was Mondale/Ferraro.  You do the math. :)

While most of my votes have been "for" a candidate, too many have been for the "less bad" candidate.  The most satisfying votes that I've ever cast were for Harry Mitchell.  While he is nowhere near liberal enough to suit me politically, he based his positions, and his votes in office, on what he thought was in the best interests of his constituents.

Voting for him in 2010 when David Schweikert took advantage of the Republican wave that year to oust an icon was no less satisfying than voting for him in 2006 when Mitchell first won a seat in Congress.

Having said all of that, here's my "positive" take on my votes this year, why I voted "for" particular candidate.  There were lots of  "for" candidates this year -

- Barack Obama for President - I enthusiastically voted for him in 2008, and proudly did so again this year. 

In the face of intractable opposition (to the point that Republicans in Congress voted against bills that they had sponsored themselves if Obama supported them), he led the start of real healthcare reform, started winding down the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, fought for tax cuts for the working and middle classes, saved the American auto industry, and oversaw the end for Osama Bin Laden. 

To be sure, there were a few missteps, but even most of those just showed that the man is simply human (stay off the pitcher's mound, Mr. President :) ).

My biggest complaint with him is that he hasn't be liberal enough in his governance.

However, that dovetails with the biggest reason to vote to give him a second term - he has governed.  Not ruled, not dictated, not anything but do his job.

He has worked *for* his constituents, all of them, not just those who agree with him or give him campaign contributions.

You may not agree with everything he's done in office; I like and support him, and even *I* don't agree with everything that the Obama administration has done. 

However, he has done what he has done out of concern for the best interests of his constituents, which should be the motivation behind the positions and actions of *all* elected officials.

As such, he has more than earned a second term in the oval office.

Picture courtesy CNN

I promise that the rest of these will be much shorter.  :)

- Dr. Rich Carmona for U.S. Senate - This may be his first foray into electoral politics, but it's not his first foray into public service.  Not hardly.

In his storied career, he has been an Army medic (in Vietnam), a SWAT team leader, and Surgeon General of the United States.  His life story is the archetypal American success story - born to immigrant parents, worked to obtain an education, lifted himself out of poverty, and has spent his adult life in public service of one sort or another.

In short, he's the sort of person who *should* be in office because he has been where most of us have been.

Carmona talking to a supporter in Tempe, September 15

- Kyrsten Sinema for U.S. Congress (CD9) - *Not* her first foray into electoral politics, but it's hardly her first foray into public service.  Like Carmona above, she bootstrapped her way out of poverty with education and hard work, and like Carmona, she has dedicated her life to serving the public.  In her case, she has been a social worker, attorney, and educator.

And like Carmona, she is the kind of person who should be in office representing us because she has been and is us.

Sinema at a candidate forum in July in Tempe

- Katie Hobbs (Senate) and Lela Alston and Chad Campbell (House) for the Arizona legislature from LD24 - They are each experienced, dedicated, intelligent, hard-working, and caring public servants and have earned another term in office.

(L-R) Hobbs, Alston, and Campbell at the LD24 Clean Elections forum in Phoenix, September 25th

Bonus legislative race:  Ed Ableser (Senate) and Juan Mendez and Andrew Sherwood (House) for the Arizona legislature from LD26 -  While they were not on my ballot (I live in LD24), all three are friends of mine and people who I respect.  They are active members of the community and have and will work for the betterment of the community.
(Standing L-R) Mendez, Sherwood, and Ableser at the LD26 Chili Cook-Off, April 28

- Paul Penzone for Maricopa County Sheriff - Penzone is a career cop who has based his career on *involving* the entire community, not demonizing* part of it for personal and political gain.  When he is elected, he'll bring a level of professionalism and integrity to the MCSO that hasn't been seen there in decades.

Penzone in Tempe, April 28 (same event as in the above pic, only a couple of hours earlier)

- Marcia Busching, Sandra Kennedy, and Paul Newman for the Arizona Corporation Commission - While the members of this trio bring a variety of experiences and backgrounds to the table, but they share a focus on ensuring Arizona's energy future.

Are all of the above candidates Democrats?  Yup.

But before the above is dismissed as "partisan hackery", one should ask if all of the above candidates are the "best" candidates. 

The answer to that question is a resounding "Yes".

Their primary concern has been (in the case of previous or current officeholders) or will be (in the case of future officeholders) the best interests of the people that they represent.

I don't expect to agree with them on every single issue, but I do expect that every person who "represents" me to hold positions, craft policies, and cast votes based on the best interests of their constituents.

And before anyone begins thinking that I've gone soft, an "against" post will follow this one.  :)

No comments: