© 2015 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. "This is a frightening statistic. More people vote in 'American Idol' than in any US election." Rush Limbaugh
Around New Mexico this next week are municipal elections not to be confused with the general elections held this same time next year. Having municipal elections on an off year from the general elections can be both good and bad: good because we citizens can concentrate on just the town or city leaders as a whole and bad because voting at times is less than ten percent of the population.
How can anyone think they got a mandate "from the people" when nine out of ten of their constituents made the decision to not vote? These elections are not about who is going to be the next councilor or mayor, they are about how people will live in our little slice of heaven in the next generation.
The decisions that are made in the next few years will not be widely known by people fifty years from now. But those people so very far in the future will either live better or worse lives because of the actions of politicians today. People who are not born yet will prosper or not because of our votes to elect differing people.
People talk about the "Get out the vote" efforts. Personally, I do not care if people vote. If you have to be told to vote, I do not care if you do. If you are just pulling levers for the sake of pulling levers so we can say a higher percentage voted, please do not vote.
More so, if the difference between people running for office is cosmetic rather than a test of policy, again, stay home and vote for American Idol. We should not spend our time trying to get people registered and to the polls. We should spend our time getting people to care. That starts with getting people of character and integrity to run. If potential voters believe in those running, they will register and vote.
What do I hope for this election? I hope that the people of character and integrity in each race win, regardless of party affiliation or if they are the incumbent. I hope the will of the people triumphs over voter fraud, regardless of who wins.
I hope that the next generation of leaders tackles the problems of the local community in an effective way so that long-term solutions work. I hope whoever is elected understands political solutions only work for political problems. They should never use political solutions for anything else.
After the votes are counted, I hope that the animosity that is so unbecoming of our society is lifted. Vote if you care. If you do not care, please stay home and watch the stars dance
I started watching elections when Kennedy and Nixon ran. I was just a kid. Then there was Goldwater Johnson. On election night we finally had a television that I got to stay up and watch. On the Nixon Humphrey election night I was a freshman in college and sat in the lobby of the dorm watching television and wondering what the future would bring. My first chance to vote was Nixon McGovern.
Somewhere in a box I have an "I like Ike" button that represents one of the high points of my political life. Ike was admired by my Mom and Dad so I admired him, too.
Some of the people I have the most respect for are politicians. Elections are like West Point, about character and integrity. The service academies concentrate on character development and personal integrity as should our elections.
We have spent quite a bit of time on what swag the politicians will give us for our vote. We do not really know what challenges our next crop of leaders will face. Therefore, this election is not about solutions to things that have already happened. It is about the future.
We know that people of character and integrity will do better in moments of crisis. We know that there will be chaos and crisis during the next several years. We know that, for the sake of our country, we should vote character and integrity.