I've debated writing my thoughts on the upcoming municipal election. Then a message from a tweep prompted me to coalesce my thoughts and put them down on paper (or screen, as it were).
Municipal politics are an interesting thing. There are no parties to run for, no partisan ideology to fall back on; only your own platform, ideas and character.
Of these, I'd like to focus on character. You probably know that social issues are a driving force in my life, prompted in no small part by my faith (which is a topic for a separate post). And so, when making a decision about who to vote for, I look closely not at their speeches, but at their lives, particularly their lives prior to their involvement in politics.
Now I'm not endorsing stalker behavior here, but in a city our size, it's not difficult to find out about the candidates' personal/social lives and beliefs.
I would strongly encourage you to look beyond the pretty speeches, to the person whose mouth those grand schemes are coming from.
A public servant is not born, fully formed, on nomination day. And that is what any politician is, a servant to the public. So look at who they were before nomination day. Have they given of their time, heart and soul to causes in the community? Have they stepped in and helped when there is no recognition or compensation? Have their previous or current careers involved service or caring in some way? Are they concerned with the common good? Do they have integrity? Are they willing to hear all sides and then make a decision, not just pay lip service to those with contrary views?
Don't confuse assent and prompt response with effective or wise leadership.
I know that I have high expectations of those in office, but when you choose to serve as a politician you are inviting the close inspection of the voters. I would encourage you all to do your homework prior to election day on October 21. I have a post with links to access information about the candidates and forums.