October 8, 2014

Wondering, on Wednesday (v6)

If you're a New Yorker and you want to be registered to vote in the general election come November, you need to have your application postmarked no later than Friday October 10th. Two days from now. And then I had a couple of simple little conversations, and that got me wondering, on Wednesday, about our power as voters.

My Sweet Baboo and I were watching the national news tonight, and of course we were smacked upside the head by the Dan Maffei/John Katko ads. Maffei and Katko are the players in the race for NY's 24th District. Before that, it was Ann Marie Buerkle vs Dan Maffei, and before that it was Dan Maffei vs Ann Marie Buerkle. Over the past six years, we've gotten more than our share of negative ads on both sides, the majority of which in the past three elections are brought to us by the national party committees and other organizations, people who don't live here but who think that they have a right to mess with our local politics. I hate that, by the way.

So we're trying our best to ignore the commercials and My Sweet Baboo says to me, wouldn't it be great if just one of these guys would say screw that, I'm not going to have any of this junk in my campaign, I'm only going to talk about what I'm going to do instead of how the other guy's a loser and all that other nonsense?

An hour or so later, I was talking with my Mom, who was once an elected official herself (Town Board; she couldn't stand the political nonsense and so did not run for a second term). Her senior citizens group was having a luncheon and a few candidates showed up, including John Katko. She and a couple of her friends thought he was interesting, sounded intelligent, and liked him - until he started bad-mouthing Dan Maffei and his record, at which point they completely turned him off and tuned him out. My mom said to me "Don't they know how much we hate hearing them talk about the other guy? Don't they get it we want to know what they stand for rather than all this negative stuff?"

Two simple conversations, happening on the same day, don't make a groundswell.  But if we all had these conversations with our friends, family, co-workers, social media contacts, and all of the other people we talk to, could we get a groundswell?

And if we took that groundswell, and told the candidates that we will not vote for them if they don't knock off the mudslinging, and if they don't stop taking outside money, and if they didn't start paying attention to us?

Imagine the power of that, the force of that groundswell, and how cool it would be to be a part of it? And then, think of how foolish you'd feel if you really wanted to participate, but couldn't, because you didn't do the one thing that would make it possible.

Put it on your to-do list. Put it in your electronic calendar. Tape a sign on the mirror. Put a note on the steering wheel. Do whatever you have to do to remember, and then do what you have to do.

Register. And then vote. Be a part of something really cool.