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Op-Ed: Vote for the Person, Not the Party

This article contains opinions and/or editorial content.

We are not Democrats or Republicans, Libertarians or Greens.  We are Americans.  It’s time to grow up and act like it.

People not Politics

I’m human.  I have political preferences and advocate for certain approaches to governance.  However, I always do so with the motivation of “I think this will be the best for everyone”.

Too many people–all across our nation–are approaching politics with the goals of “how can I win?” and “how do I get what I want?”  Too many people are only concerned with “my team winning”. They don’t care about justice, fairness, or what’s best for our country, our citizens, our residents, or our future.

They just want to win.

Even if it destroys us.

Family not Flags

American politics has become more partisan, more divided than any time since the Civil War.  There are people–on all sides–defending indefensible actions and ideas because someone “wearing the same color” told them to.

We’re better than that. We, bedrock-practical Cheeseheads–more than anyone–should be better than that.  If someone’s broken down on the side of the road, we don’t check their bumper stickers before offering to help.  When someone is raising money to help a family hit by tragedy, we don’t ask how they voted in the last election before opening our wallets (and our hearts).

Reach Out Lodi, The Lodi Resale Shop, and the more than 70 local community groups in the Lodi Valley benefit from the participation, donations, and support of conservatives, liberals, libertarians, and political agnostics–because we all understand that “doing good” crosses all lines.

Representatives not Leaders

In November we, as a nation, are going to decide who we want to represent us.

I want to repeat that, because it’s incredibly important:

Who do we want to represent us?

We don’t have leaders. We have representatives. We aren’t choosing who people to tell us what to do, we’re electing representatives that will speak with our voice.

Listen to what the candidates say. Would you say that to your mother?  To your neighbor?  If your child said it to you would you believe it?

Listen to what the candidates say.  Does it stand up to scrutiny?  How does it compare to facts–not what you hear in your bubble, but actual, verifiable facts?  Is what they’re saying today the same thing they were saying last week?

We are smart, wise, inquisitive, skeptical, educated, experienced individuals.  We need to stop putting up with the bullshit and demand that our representatives actually represent us.

People not Parties

Lodi already understands “non-partisan” voting.  Our city, town, and village boards; our mayor; our school board:  All of these positions are non-partisan–and they affect us more directly than higher levels of government.  We vote for the people we think are best able to do what’s best for our entire community.

When you walk into the voting booth on Nov 3rd–or, much more likely, fill out your “mail-in” ballot in October–ignore the parties.  Vote for the person.

If you believe Team Green best speaks for you, it’s okay to say “I don’t like Candidate Adams, I’m going to vote for Candidate Anderson from Team Gold”.

It’s okay to walk down the ballot and vote for Teams Green, Gold, Grey, Magenta, Olive Drab, and Beige.

It’s not only okay, it’s your responsibility to say “I’m a member of Team Gold, but that candidate doesn’t represent who we are, that candidate does not speak for me.”

We can bring our country back to a sensible and practical middle-ground where can vigorously debate issues, but still buy each other a beer and walk out as friends who’ve learned a few things.

We can do this by looking politicians in the eye and saying “prove it” when they make a claim. We can do it by holding the accountable for what they say and do.  We can do it by tossing aside party colors and looking at the person.

We can do it by…. being good people and good neighbors.

Look around you. We can nail that.  No problem.

… if we choose to.

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