I received the above letter from a reader asking what voters should do if the choice of candidates is an unattractive one. This has been a pervasive dilemma throughout politics, especially in the past decade. The question is a good one because when voters aren't buying what either candidate is selling, where is the incentive to cast our ballots?
The old adage "choose between the lesser of two evils" must necessarily apply here, because nothing, and no candidate, is worth sacrificing our individual votes. Contrary to popular opinion, every vote matters; each of our individual votes counts more than most citizens know.
By the singular act of casting a vote, even if it is to elect the lesser of two evils, the process is impacted by the sheer number of ballots cast, so that come next election, candidates will have to address a broader scope of issues to influence votes. This alone would significantly diminish special interests' influence by forcing candidates to cast a wider net.
It's a process. By bringing focus to a broader slate of issues, more interest is generated in the public at large, which eventually turns out more viable candidates that better reflect the public. So for those who think their votes don't matter, nothing could be further from the truth.
If the choice of candidates is intolerable for voters, there is always the option of writing a candidate in. Either way, voters participate and the process is stronger for it.
Two of the issues to watch for in the next six months are installing 65th/67th streets (and who will pay for it, taxpayers or developers), and the state looking at another decrease in revenues, which likely means more cuts for the city, which will raise the issue of whether the city should increase fees or raise taxes.
Luckily, some of the candidates participated in the Reader survey last week, so taxpayers have a sense of what they can expect from those elected. But for those candidates who are either too lazy, too ignorant, or too cowardly to avail themselves of the opportunity to inform voters, voters will have to wait and see.
I cannot say it strongly enough: Shame on those candidates who did not participate in this survey. The survey was short, extremely straightforward, and highly informative. The only reasons for not participating are those stated above. By not participating, candidates sent a message that they are not interested in voters knowing their positions because they do not want to be held accountable later on. This is decidedly not leadership and hopefully resulted in lost votes for these poseurs.
For those candidates who did participate, kudos to you for caring enough to share your views with voters, and for having the courage to conduct yourselves as leaders should.
Film Fest Success
Finally, MidCoast Fine Arts' film festival two weeks ago was an incredible, creative, inspiring event that proves our town has the highest caliber of talent and professionalism. For its maiden voyage, this film festival was enormously successful. From the films to the venues to the planned events to the community-wide partnerships created to host the festival, it was seamless, fun, intriguing, different, and educational. If this is what the organizers accomplished in less than six months, imagine what next year's film festival will be.
And for those that missed seeing some of this year's best independent films, this Saturday and Sunday, the Quad Cities Brew & View will be hosting the "Best of Fest MidCoast Film Fest Showcase." Check page 8 for details.