By Mark David Blum, Esq.
In 2004, I registered as a Democrat for the first time in my life. The singular purpose therefor was to have a say in the then Democratic primary for President. This time around, I wanted to register Republican for the very same reasons; but I just could not bring myself to register in this County as a Republican. Alas but I must rely on the good judgment of others and trust that Ron Paul will be the winner.
One of the lessons I learned as Onondaga County Chairperson of the Ross Perot campaign back in 1992 is that there is a general feeling of disgust and frustration in the general population. I am pretty sure that we had more people who signed Perot lists and petitions than all the registered Republicans and Democrats combined. People came up to me everyday and said, “I support your guy, though I can’t say so publicly.” The rationale they gave was not that they were great Perot fans, but rather that Perot represented the disenfranchised and forgotten voters. His fight was not about a small group of elite continuing in place. The general population wants back in the game. People want options and neither party is responding to them anymore.
When you walk into the voting booth and before you pull that lever, I ask you to do one simple thing. Ask yourself why are you voting for that candidate? Is it because they are the incumbent? An incumbent is the last person you want in the job. Public service is not a career and our nation’s Founders had no desire for or wish that we created ‘career politicians’. Congress and the Presidency were based upon the desire of an individual to take the responsibility for a term and then pass it on. An incumbent should only be re-elected when nobody else will take the job. You can never have fresh ideas or a new approach when the same people are put back in office. Albert Einstein defined “insanity” as doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.
To quote one of our Nation’s Founders and earliest Presidents, “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).
Do not vote for a candidate because you ‘think’ they will win. This is not a football game and you are not betting on the winner. No candidate is ahead, has a lock, is winning, or is going to win until the very moment the polls close. Before you flip that switch, regardless of the promises you made to your friends and family … before you flip that switch … did you do it because of party or because you think the candidate is going to win … or did you flip that switch because in your heart, you voted for the person you believe best capable of bringing Onondaga County into the 21st Century and to build a world class legacy for the children of your great grandchildren.
I have watched the debates, listened to the arguments, and skimmed the junk mail. I have tolerated the fundraising phone calls and the attack police out there anonymously posting on the internet. I have suffered the wardrobe costs, the plumberitis, the terrorist fist bump, and guilt by association. This election has not shown itself to be something about which Americans can be proud. Both major party candidates are guilty of the slime. Neither major party candidate really offers us a choice. While the McCain candidacy brings stability and consistency with the past, the Obama candidacy brings us the great unknown and a bevy of new bodies and ideas.
“Malaise” is the disease that has infected the heart and soul of the region and nation. We are tired and war weary. Whether it is economic, social, educational, or political; momentum and energy have come to a complete standstill. It matters not whether Democrats or Republicans are in charge as both parties have shown themselves to be the Pied Pipers of Yawn. Each candidate in turn is an excellent manager, has perfect character, and is a wonderful human being. Yet none is inspiring the nation to Her better angels.
Because there remain voters still whose decision was made by a lawn sign, telephone recording, blind party loyalty, or a 5x7 four color glossy postcard mailing “to our friends at” …, Winston Churchill’s words will always ring true. “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”