Fish: Know the candidates
If you've been reading my column for a while, then you already know how I feel about national politics. If you don't, let me sum it up for you. While I think it's important to be engaged on a global level, local it really where it's at. Hence "think globally, act locally." When you cast a national vote you're one of millions. When you vote locally, you're one of thousands. I'll take those odds every day.
That said, yesterday the Brattleboro Chamber held a candidates' forum for those running for governor. The room had about 150 plus people in it, all looking to find their candidate (if you missed it, BCTV was there and I'm sure they'll run it a few times). If you wanted to, one could make the argument that they're only going to say what you want to hear. My answer to that is, "well, I'd like to hear some great Jazz but not one of them brought a saxophone!" While it's true they're always going to be on their best behavior, I really think that you can really formulate an opinion. For me, it did bring me a little closer to knowing for whom I would be casting a vote. But looming larger for me, it completely eliminated two candidates. But that's why you go to these things, to learn more and step into a voting booth educated.
What I always look for is the person who can create good paying jobs, provide the right amount of tax incentives that would inspire me to stay in the great state of Vermont while not breaking the bank. These are things that will truly impact your life directly. How does a candidate think about the mental health issue, the opiate and heroin epidemic we're going through? You can vote for your governor and then put that person's feet to the fire should they not be following through on the things they said.
The same can be said about your state senators. These are the folks that write the laws and pass the legislation that our future governor will eventually sign or not sign. So heading to the polls for local elections is super important. And really understanding where your candidate stands prior to casting that vote is catamount to making that decision. When you stop and think about it, it is truly the last real thing we do as a culture, vote. The vote you cast locally will be the vote you can live with for the next few years, and if that person gets it wrong, then vote for someone else the next time around.
But when you look to the national platforms and electing those folks, well that is something different all together. Voting for a president is important, but not nearly as important as picking the person who will represent the way you feel to the folks inside the beltway. Now it is altogether possible that we're spoiled here in the Green Mountain State. We have decent representation inside the beltway. For the most part they represent the folks who voted for them. Now, that could be because they are from a small state and if there's enough of an uprising then they could be out of work fairly quickly.
It boils down to this: You have to engage your brain and pick the five things that are important to you. Then find out where each of the candidates stands on those issues and how strongly they feel on those decisions. Try and forget that you're a Democrat or a Republican and cast your vote for the person that is going to represent you on the larger scale. Don't ever just pick a hot potato singular wedge issue and walk into a booth and cast your vote for the candidate that represents that issue, because that same candidate may very well be for that one thing and dead set against everything else you stand for. Know your candidate, think globally, act locally and never be afraid to ask, what the hell is up with that?
Fish is the opinionated morning jock on Classic Hits 92.7. He offers up his opinion at 7:50 a.m. every morning (Monday through Friday). Let's start the revolution. E-mail him at email@example.com
The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.
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