Raise your hand if you like the fact that running for national elected office requires raising millions of dollars, which then indebts the recipients? Anyone? Anyone?
I’ve thought about this probably more than I need to, and I’ve come up with one, fool-proof, Constitutionally valid solution to this problem. We, the citizens of the United States of America, need to stop making our voting decisions based on paid media advertising. Then poof! All the need for money disappears!!
Our elections are not a media production, where we should vote for the best-produced and scripted candidate. It should not be the responsibility of our elected officials to motivate us to get to the polls. If you are a person who cares about the future of your country, and you are blessed enough to have a say in how it is run, it is your responsibility to educate yourself and make your preferences known at the voting booth.
Imagine a world where people spent even half an hour researching the positions of the candidates and then selecting the one who best meets their criteria of policies, ideology, background, and non-obnoxious speaking voice. (Ok, so maybe I have a few unique criteria for elected officials who will be interviewed regularly on the radio.) I know that asking the voters of America to spend half an hour or an hour to do research to figure out who they want to represent them is much harder than raising millions of dollars and hiring lobbyists, but with such an evenly divided electorate, if even a small block of voters started doing this, it might have a real impact.
For the voters of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we can start doing this right now.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 19th we have an election for US Senator.
There are three candidates who will be on the ballot:
Martha Coakley is the current At tourney General for Massachusetts, and is the Democratic nominee.
Scott Brown is a Massachusetts State Senator and holds the Republican nomination.
Joe Kennedy (no relation to Teddy or JFK) is an independent who describes himself as “The Tea Party Candidate”
Unfortunately, while there is often a site offering a “by the issues” guide to voting for many major elections, I could not find one for the Massachusetts special election. The Boston Globe has a page that has links to several substantive issues, including transcripts of the debates and statements issued by the candidates.
Turnout for the special election is predicted to be extremely low. This is not “election season”. The campaign was short, but just long enough for Senator Kennedy’s death to have been a bit forgotten. The election keeps getting buried by other issues (the holidays, the economy, Tiger Woods, and now the tragedy in Haiti).
Voters of Massachusetts — you have something a million dollars of out-of-state money cannot buy: the right and responsibility to vote for the candidate of your choice.
Having done my research, I will be voting for Martha Coakley on Tuesday. Regardless of who you choose to vote for, I urge you to do some independent investigation, make a decision, and show up on Tuesday to cast your vote.