Today is Election Day in our small little town.
Up for grabs are three seats on the town council. Three incumbents are running for re-election against three newbies.
It’s interesting to see the back and forth on the local community Facebook page and our particular neighborhood blog. Stories that only those “born and raised here” would remember are being brought up again to inform us newcomers. Historically, the turnout for the town’s elections has been quite low. But over the last several years our town has seen tremendous growth. After the housing market crash and resurgence, there were a number of “communities” that sprung up. Each has about 300-400 homes and a decidedly younger electorate. Many of those moving here are young families from neighboring states (NJ, MD, and PA).
Even if you barely know me, you know that I’m passionate about politics and the political process. I fully intend to vote (polls open at noon!) I’ve researched the six candidates and have made my decision for the three I’ll be voting for. (Each voter can select up to three candidates).
I’m just hoping the turnout will be good. But I worry it may not be. Historically, fewer than 1,000 people vote in these town council elections.
The mudslinging that’s going on today is small potatoes compared to what we’re seeing on the national scale, but there are many similarities. Chief among them: fear-mongering. I am not a fan of playing to people’s fears and capitalizing on them. But I don’t necessarily blame the “mongerer,” (although don’t get me started on Trump) – I blame the electorate. WE. THE PEOPLE. Are we really so enamored by the reality-TV world we live in that we’re willing to forego any real discussions about the economy, education, the environment, etc. in favor of championing the guy that tells it like it is? The guy that has insulted virtually every group of American citizens? The guy that argued about his manhood on a national stage?
I will never understand blindly following another candidate. EVER. Many that know me may assume I’m voting for Hillary, but you know what? I’m undecided at this point. I try to do my research. I read and watch and listen. I don’t get it right all the time, but I like to think my decisions are informed rather than just impulsive.
Side note: there was an article on politico.com recently about the one quality consistent in all Trump voters. Can you guess what it is?
AUTHORITARIANISM. Basic premise is that if you are inclined to follow authority and believe in authoritarian principles, you’re more likely to stand behind a guy like Trump.
Authoritarians obey. They rally to and follow strong leaders. And they respond aggressively to outsiders, especially when they feel threatened. From pledging to “make America great again” by building a wall on the border to promising to close mosques and ban Muslims from visiting the United States, Trump is playing directly to authoritarian inclinations.
Of course authoritarians come in all political shapes and colors. It’s not a Democrat or a Republican thing. But it’s a fascinating premise and totally worth a read.
I did my due diligence in this “small potatoes” election because it’s not so small potatoes to me. This is the town I live in. This is the town my family lives in. Our daughters go to school here. How can I not be engaged in the political process? How can I just blindly trust that those elected to do their jobs are actually doing their jobs?
I only hope that my friends and neighbors have also done some research on these candidates and decided for themselves the best people to serve our town. There are a lot of people complaining about certain issues, but the voter turnout doesn’t reflect a caring attitude. If you don’t vote and you choose to be complacent, you have nothing to contribute to the discussion.
No excuses. Go vote.
This post is part of the Microblog Mondays series – and after I re-read it I quickly realized this post is decidedly NOT micro in any way, shape or form. But who cares! 🙂