As I was filling out my ballot on Election Day two weeks ago, I did something I rarely have done before. Before walking away from the booth, I took a good, close look at who I had voted for, trying to see if there was any sort of trend to my votes. Interestingly, but not at all surprising knowing myself, there was none.
As I scanned the completed ballot, it was pretty evenly split between Democrats and Republicans for the races where parties were indicated. There was also a good mixture of incumbents versus non-incumbents with a blackened oval beside their names. This wasn’t done by design at all, so it pretty much confirmed my own suspicions that I am a steadfast, maybe even textbook “moderate.”
Without revealing specifically who I voted for, I can say that there was a reason for every single vote I cast - at least for the contested races. I voted for the incumbents who I thought had done a good job during their time in office. Conversely, I didn’t vote for some of the incumbents because I didn’t approve of some of their decisions.
At the same time, however, some of the votes cast weren’t that black-and-white. Some of the races were almost literally a coin-flip. There were two (or more) candidates who I felt would do a good job. I simply had to choose who I would consider to be the “best-of-the-best.” And quite frankly, some votes were cast for “the lesser of two evils.”
The way I look at an election, it is like a job interview. Maybe I get this from my years of being a retail manager. Whenever I had a position to fill at my store, I would have to go through each applicant, weighing who I felt would best fill the position. Sometimes that would be an easy decision, sometimes it would be a tough one, from either a good or bad perspective. But since this was my store, my biggest hope is that whoever I picked, they would do a good job.
Our country, state, district, county, city, or even school district is like our “store.” Only instead of one person making a hiring decision, it’s thousands, even millions of people doing it.
Unfortunately, not everyone thinks that way. Many will blindly vote for (or against) a certain party, no matter how appealing another candidate is to them, or how otherwise unappealing their party’s candidate is. Others will flatly vote for all the incumbents, or more than likely based on today’s prevailing attitude, vote for anybody but the incumbents.
Then, they go out and celebrate when their chosen party/candidate “wins” or grieves if their chosen party/candidate “loses.” But how can they know at that very moment if they’ve truly “won” or “lost?”
Instead of knee-jerk reactions like this, I would ask people to take this stance: To all the candidates I voted for who got elected, prove me right. To all the candidates I didn’t vote for, but they got elected anyway, please feel free to prove me wrong. After all, if both of these things happen, then everyone will be guaranteed to have “won.”
BILL STICKELS III is editor of the Isanti-Chisago County Star. He can be reached at 763-689-1181 ext. 107 or email@example.com.