In just a few days, early voting for the primary elections will begin. While we can see a blessed end to the incessant politicking, right now it’s just gearing up to hit a crescendo in the fall. Come November, I will no longer come home to nine voicemail messages from robodials (do people actually listen to those things?), I won’t have to wonder how I got on an e-mail list for someone running in Sierra Vista, and my mailbox will once again be blissfully empty.
And I’m a political junkie.
Trust me, there are few people who enjoy a political and philosophical discussion more than I do. Pick a side, and I’ll take the opposite side, and through the discussion we’ll be able to flesh out our respective opinions and identify holes in arguments. But this constant attack mode is exhausting and drags everyone down in the mud. Is it any wonder that voter turnout is pitifully low?
And then there are my FaceBook “friends.” Good Lord, folks, do you teach your kids to talk that way? If you want to attach something that you support, good for you, but nothing hateful, please.
A lot has been made of the “pledge” to not raise taxes driven by Grover Norquist. I propose a new pledge for both voters and candidates:
• I pledge to believe that those who disagree with me are good people.
• I pledge to understand that someone who disagrees with me is not out to get me.
• I pledge not to judge soundbites, but to determine the full context of a statement.
• I pledge to acknowledge that just because you don’t support one candidate (or congressman or president) it doesn’t mean you like his/her opponent/predecessor.
• I pledge to show respect to the office and whoever holds it, even though I may be working the other side of an issue.
• I pledge not to say anything about a candidate that I wouldn’t want said about my mother or child.
• I pledge not to use “the other candidate started it” as an excuse for my own behavior.
• I pledge not to do anything I berated another administration or candidate for doing.
• I pledge to recognize the difference between flip-flopping and having a reasoned change of opinion based on information and experience.
• I pledge to acknowledge that compromise does not mean having everyone agree with you, and that voting with another party takes courage and is not caving.
• I pledge to realize that legislation is often so complex that there are multiple understandable reasons to oppose it.
• I pledge to prove wrong the people who say that going negative works.
I’ll be the first to sign.
Mary Ann Miller
President/CEO, Tempe Chamber of Commerce