In a few months we will be having a civic election in our city and will be electing a new mayor. Our mayor has announced that he will be leaving civic politics, perhaps in search of a real job, and as of this morning approximately 12 people have declared themselves as candidates for his position.
Civic politics (perhaps all politics) is unlike any other form of applying for a job in that the successful applicant is often hired because he or she presents well, not because he or she is best qualified.
The marvellous thing about democracy is that anyone, regardless of race, creed, background, education, experience, skill, ability, competence or any of the other measurements or screenings that are usually assessed in the hiring process can run for elected office.
The tragedy of democracy is that anyone, regardless of race, creed, background, education, experience, skill, ability, competence or any of the other measurements or screenings that are usually assessed in the hiring process can run for elected office.
The spoils will go not to he, or she, who presents the best plan for the future, but rather the next occupant of that office will be the person who is able to cajole the greatest number of people into setting aside their genetic apathy long enough to venture down to the nearest polling station and place an X in the correct spot.
It has long been said that in a democracy you always get the government you deserve which should cause us to reflect on another useful cliché which admonishes us to “be careful what you ask for.”
I recently heard a talking head on CNN say that if you choose not to vote in an election, you forfeit your right to criticize the government which helped me understand why I vote in every election.
I always thought that my decision to vote was based on my pride in being a Canadian citizen and that I was exercising my civic duty by doing so.
After hearing that CNN pundit I re-evaluated my voting history and determined that the real reason I vote, in fact the only reason I vote, is because like so many of my fellow citizens I love nothing better that to waste valuable amounts of the precious, short time we are given on this planet whining and complaining about the government.
It is a Canadian avocation to do this and as an immigrant to this country, I quickly acquired this habit as a means of integrating into Canadian society.
And as I am committed to vote for one of the twelve (or more) I have to decide who among them will be worthy of my vote.
So far I haven’t heard anything from any of them that would separate them from the pack so I am not leaning towards any one candidate, but I can absolutely tell you who will NOT get my vote.
Any candidate who:
launches a personal attack on an opponent
is photographed kissing a baby
spends time criticizing an opponents platform
runs attack ads
parades his or her family in front of the cameras
talks about anything other than his or her plan and vision for the city
is photographed on a horse (Calgarians will get this)
will automatically be permanently removed from the list of possibles eligible for my vote.
I have developed a qualifying question I shall pose to every candidate I meet during the term of this campaign. Should they answer in the affirmative, they will immediately be placed on my short list of possible vote recipients.
My question is this “Will you publicly declare that if you are elected to this position and you fail to deliver on any single campaign promise you will not justify your failure by assigning blame elsewhere but will immediately resign your position and vow to never run for elected office again?”
My guess is that if I have any opportunity to ask this question of each candidate and choose to disqualify from getting my vote all those who do not say “yes” then this will be the first election in which I will not cast my vote.
I don’t believe a single one of them has the guts to say “YES I WILL.”
Perhaps you can use the same criteria in selecting the person you vote for.
Till we read again
P.S. A number of people who have read my book, “Life Sinks or Soars – the choice is yours, have asked me to develop a workshop that will allow readers to apply the principles of the book to their daily lives. I am close to completing the workshop and will be presenting it on a regular schedule commencing this fall. If you would like more information about these and other workshops please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the words “workshop info” in the title and you will be added to our mailing list.
P.P.S. Sixtee readers contacted me this week to say they had visited my sister Gillian’s travel, dining, theatre and entertainment blog so I decided to provide the link again. Gill buys me a Mars Bar each time one of you goes to her site. You can read Gillian’s blog at www.reviewfromthehouse.com