This is my first time participating in the political process by working on a campaign. For years I avoided it like the plague because I believed that politics was a necessary evil. There has been so much corruption over the years and the revelation of back door deals that don’t benefit the masses but I’m pleased to say I have changed my view….to a certain extent. Just like in life there are good people and bad people, good politicians and bad politicians, people who want to serve the people and people who want to serve themselves. It’s up to us as citizens to do our homework and try our best to vote for those who care about our community and the people in it. Here are a few nuggets I’ve picked up along the way as I’ve participated in politics here in Shelby County, Tennessee.
- It Can Be A Dirty Game
I was quite surprised that the political machine isn’t above offering candidates incentives to drop out of the race. Things like at job that pays over $100,000 a year or their support if they run for another office later may be placed on the table for consideration. SHAME! I think everyone has the right to run and just because someone running isn’t the party’s candidate of choice doesn’t mean they should have a seat. Just don’t vote for him or her. Trying to control voter choices through manipulation and bribery is just wrong to me.
- There Are Such Things A Paid Endorsements
There are several people who make quite a bit of money putting out endorsement ballots and other literature during election time. That’s a nice hustle! You may have received one or two in the mail. I was surprised to learn that the criteria for being on those ballots is a check. Not to say that the people listed aren’t qualified for the office but dang! If you look closely, most of them have been doing public service for years and are quite qualified. However, why did I believe that the people putting those things together did their homework and only listed the best candidate for each race based on experience and qualifications? You live and you learn. Now, Not all listings require a fee from candidates but quite a few do. My advice is do your own homework, people! Take the time to find out about the candidates that aren’t listed and then make an informed decision. Otherwise, you’re just being lazy and that’s exactly what they’re counting on.
- Campaigning Is Expensive
I’m sure you’re wondering why #1 matters. Why does a candidate need political party support? Well, campaigning cost tens of thousands of dollars or more. Those yard signs, leaflets, push cards, posters, t-shirts and commercials all come with a price. Most media outlets jack up their price during election time simply because they can. People want the exposure so they will pay the increased prices. The more endorsements you have the more donations you will probably receive to buy everything the candidate needs to let everyone know they are running for office.
- Politics, Politicians and the Media Are Necessary
There is no way that I as a concerned citizen can attend every meeting and every hearing about things that concern me and others. If I tried to do so in order to stay informed about local, state and national politics it would bankrupt me. Therefore, we need concerned people in office who are going to pay attention to the issues being presented and make moves based on what’s important to their constituents. But we’ve go to put the right people in office. The media helps us to hold them accountable by reporting on their activities.
- Too Many People Don’t Vote
Help me understand why an individual would take the time to register to vote and then doesn’t do so. The only excuse I’m willing to accept is severe illness or death. I hear so many complaints about Shelby County…poverty, lack of a living wage, a poor education system, potholes, blight, poor air quality, excessive government spending, unfair distribution of government contracts, PILOTs that should have never been granted, etc. Don’t you know that our local politicians have the power to do something about this? If you don’t like the current leadership CHANGE IT WITH YOUR VOTE. Stop whining and get your behind to the polls. If you truly care, show it. We have a mayor, commissioners, judges and more being elected and the primary elections help determine who gets invited to the big general election dance. Those are powerful seats and there are people who have the audacity to say they don’t need to vote. What’s wrong wit chu!!!
Tennessee has the lowest voter turnout in the country. We’ve got to do better Shelby County.
My last words are…Go VOTE like Obama is running for office again. Hate him or love him that race got people to the polls in droves. I’d like to see it again for this primary election. Early Voting is now – through April 26 and Election Day is May 1. Get to the polls and take your friends and family with you.