I am popular—my phone rings off the wall from early morning until bedtime. I’m not a rock star or a film star or a sports star. I’m a voter—and ‘tis the season. Through phone calls, television commercials, and Internet blasts, I’ve been eagerly courted. Come-on lines range from appeals for party loyalty to preys on irrational fears du jour (Ebola, anyone?). Spin renders opponents minor Beelzebubs and the Chosen as icons: gold-leaf halos and all.
I find myself wishing for an early-voter app: I scan my “I Voted” sticker and the app mutes all campaign rhetoric thereafter.
I’m no political expert: I learned more about politics from the West Wing than from my U.S. History class. I’m just an average Josie who pays her taxes and tries to keep her nose clean. But we’re a nation of Average Joes and Josies. Which made me wonder what we Average Joe/Josies hope for in a just politician on campaign. Here’s my list:
- A platform built on what the politician hopes to accomplish and why, not on what s/he believes will secure a win;
- Wisdom—strength of head and heart: the ability to make excruciating decisions while standing in the shoes of those most impacted;
- Enough political savvy to get the job done and enough integrity to know where to draw the line;
- Passion for the work that’s not tied to a paycheck;
- Greater commitment to the needs of constituents than to the desire for reelection; and
- Global awareness—recognition that constituents are best served when we find ways to work together for the common good.
It’s not an exhaustive list, but it’s a beginning. What’s on your list? Oh, wait, sorry. The phone’s ringing…
Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.
~John Quincy Adams