Local municipal elections are nearing and candidates are out in full force campaigning for our votes. Truthfully I have never really paid much attention to politics. In my younger years, trying to decide who to vote for seemed like trying to figure out who was the lesser evil. I never researched into the candidates or their platforms. Being a busy business owner and then mother to 3 highly energetic little girls I rarely could find the time to sit for 5 minutes let alone pay any attention to the local politics. Come voting time I would get as much insight as I could with a quick coffee visit with friends and family, listening to their thoughts about who they liked and disliked and why, and then head off to the polls with their thoughts guiding my decision. Obviously not the best way to decide who to vote for but I just didn't have the time in my own busy schedule to really dive into it and do the research myself. This term was shaping up to be the same as always until an experience with a local candidate last night made me really stop and think.
I stood on my front porch last night talking with a client of mine when from down the street came one of the candidates running for Ward Counselor in my area. She saw us standing there and came up to us introducing herself. She then focused solely on my client, an older man in his sixties. He informed her that he did not live in the area and therefore could not vote for her and attempted to draw her attention towards me. She turned to me momentarily to give me a weak handshake and then turned back to my client, dismissing me. During this time one of her campaigners was knocking on my neighbours front door. As my neighbour opened his door and stepped out to talk with her campaigner, she turned away and immediately went to talk to him, leaving me standing on my porch a little taken back. I couldn't believe the way in which she had conducted herself and her complete disregard for me. She proceeded to discuss with my neighbour for over 10 minutes in which time I went back inside my home.
Upon my husband coming home from work later that evening he discovered that she had placed one of her campaign signs on our front lawn in support of her. That sign was promptly removed.
It was this experience that got my husband and I talking. We decided that maybe it was time for us to start to pay attention to who was running in our area and what each of them stood for. This candidates disregard for me put into light what kind of people we want as our voice at city hall and who we don't want. We have since dived in and done our research knowing who we are going to vote for and what they stand for.
However this brings to light the fact that there are so many others like us out there, especially the young voters. Our lives are so busy today. Its hard to find the time to indulge in the simple pleasures of sitting down for 5 minutes let alone researching politics. Its unfortunate when you think of all the wasted votes because of the people who were just like us, going in blindly and voting for the sake of voting, not knowing who they were really voting for. I am well aware of how difficult it can be to find the time to actually do the research and learn about who is running but real change will never occur if the right people are not voted for. I wonder how different our government might actually be, if all those voters who basically throw their votes away because they are uninformed, took the time to really learn and get to know the people who they were voting for. I know we will never make that mistake again.