Educating Voters

Educating Voters

maryhallrayford

Status-quo politics won’t change until those voting change–educating themselves about the candidates! The sooner we all realize that nothing in politics is going to change until we change, the better off we’ll be–with people in elected offices who will get things done.

Far too often, the voting electorate is stymied by the multitude of candidates for any elected office and instead of educating themselves about the candidates and the issues they promote, they simply rely upon “name recognition” or who can schmooze them the most. Let’s face it–with most of the issues, all candidates from either side of the spectrum say the same thing with a few minor differences. On the national level, everyone is talking about healthcare, jobs, education, climate change and infrastructure. On the local levels, the issues are pretty much the same with every candidate declaring how much they love where they live. But are they doing…

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Educating Voters

Educating Voters

Status-quo politics won’t change until those voting change–educating themselves about the candidates! The sooner we all realize that nothing in politics is going to change until we change, the better off we’ll be–with people in elected offices who will get things done.

Far too often, the voting electorate is stymied by the multitude of candidates for any elected office and instead of educating themselves about the candidates and the issues they promote, they simply rely upon “name recognition” or who can schmooze them the most. Let’s face it–with most of the issues, all candidates from either side of the spectrum say the same thing with a few minor differences. On the national level, everyone is talking about healthcare, jobs, education, climate change and infrastructure. On the local levels, the issues are pretty much the same with every candidate declaring how much they love where they live. But are they doing the work to demonstrate how much they love where they live?

Everyone wants a job with a living wage–one in which they only need to work one job, not two or three to survive. Everyone needs quality, affordable healthcare since none of us knows when we might fall ill or have some devastating event occur in our lives. No one wants to ride on roads that are crumbling or see railroads in need of repair or bridges deteriorating. And most sane people–want access to a quality education for their children and grandchildren–along with the hope of leaving a planet behind that will sustain life for hundreds of years to come. Those are the issues. And for us older folks–we want the government to leave our Social Security and Medicare alone!

What’s stopping us from electing the person who will work to solve all the issues? Identity politics–whether it is about party affiliation or name recognition– it is the basis for how many people vote. Some vote against everyone by writing in ridiculous names or by not voting at all. For those who practice–write-in-buffoonery or not voting–it is a vote–and probably for the person least wanted. We see the best example of that–right now.

How do we get the right people in office? We research, listen, ask questions, and evaluate what we discover–educating ourselves as to how the candidates have performed in the past (if they have previous experience), look at what they’re doing right now, and talking to them one-on-one in town halls or coffee hours on the campaign trail. A responsible electorate will not allow a person’s status to intimidate them and keep them from questioning any potential candidate. A responsible, worthwhile candidate will make themselves available to respond directly to the electorate, as often as possible.

So, to get who we want in office who’s going to work for the people, we must do our homework and do it early. We must listen to what candidates are saying to determine their message–regardless to whom they’re speaking–is consistent. We must not become–one issue voters–for when we allow the one issue to influence our decisions, we ultimately allow the wrong person to be elected. We must remember–elections have consequences--and that we will seldom agree with everything any one candidate about everything.

Many people have developed their own formula for determining how they’ll vote. Mine is simple–will I regret voting for the individual at a later date? If I can see where a candidate falls in line with at least 3/5 issues that matter to me, that’s the person I’ll choose. I can always fight for the other two at a later date. If there’s only one or two issues I agree with, I won’t vote for them–that’s too much of a risk to regret.

Since I am a political activist promoting the Democrat’s agenda, I suggest that the DNC and all of its affiliates spend some quality time educating voters about why we should put them in office and not just about voting against trump. Provide the facts, not speculation–with data easily understood. Provide a clear unified message and acknowledge room for improvement in a position on any issue. Include everyone–without a purity test–since none–no, not one–is a perfect human being. We don’t need perfect human beings–we need compassionate, empathetic, people with integrity in office–those who will govern for all the people and not just some.

As the campaign season progresses, I will continue to write about what we should be looking for in a candidate who will serve the country well and help to regain our standing on the global stage. Look for it–it will be coming on a regular basis.

truth

Objectivity vs Subjectivity

In a world in which accusations of monumental proportions exist because of prejudicial biases, it would stand to reason that one way to avoid the conflict would be to have clear, objective criteria established for selections or evaluations rather than making selections or making evaluations–subjectively (personal biased opinions).

So, let’s look at definitions–

Subjectivity–

  1. the quality of being based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.
    “he is the first to acknowledge the subjectivity of memories”
    • the quality of existing in someone’s mind rather than the external world.
      “the subjectivity of human perception”

    Objectivity–

    noun

    the state or quality of being objective:

Objective Criteria

adj.

1. a. Existing independent of or external to the mind; actual or real: objective reality.

b. Based on observable phenomena; empirical: objective facts.
2. Uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices: an objective critic. See Synonyms at fair1.
So, Objective Criterion–very simply could have been established prior to the day of the interviews in order to avoid confusion and to respect the time of the interviewees.  Measurable criteria for the appointment of a person to fill a vacant seat could have included:
1) the number of council meetings a person has attended within the past 12 months
2) participation in other city positions (commissions, events)
3) engagement with the residents on a regular basis
4) extent of volunteerism in a resume
5) relevant experience indicating one’s ability to understand governance, decision-making, and analyzing information before a decision is made.
With an established objective criterion–everyone involved knows what is expected and how a decision will be made without chaos or awkwardness or the possibility of allegations of personal bias. This is what true leadership does.
Good managers/Supervisors on just about any job based evaluations on clear, measurable objective criterion, ie excessive absences is grounds for dismissal or other forms of remedy; productivity, ability to work as a team, or to promote the goals and objectives of the company.
Good teachers use more than one method of evaluating a student’s performance or improvement other than in a test. Most create a “rubric” by which measurable criterion are established and the value clearly and explicitly stated. One of the primary reasons a rubric is used in evaluation projects or writing assignments is to avoid a student’s accusation of a teacher “not liking” them and therefore they didn’t get a good grade.
Point systems–predetermined by clearly stated measurable criteria work well in the business world, as well as in classrooms.
Therefore, misunderstandings, misconcepts, or chaotic awkwardness can be avoided in the future when and if it is necessary to “appoint” someone to fill a position in which there is the possibility of personal bias influencing any decision.
According to comments noted in the November 20th edition of The Eastsider, only one council member listed a measurable criteria for anyone to be measured by in the selection process–“demonstrated dedication”–measurable by one’s actual experience and integrity.  Ideas and visions, though lofty goals, are not measurable in any quantifiable way and are prone to be judged, subjectively.