The right to vote is a responsibility that offers an opportunity for each one of us to consider the health and longevity of our communities and our society as a whole. It may be easy to feel that if your choice for an elected official is denied, your views will not be represented. Democracy however, was designed on promotion of common values for the common good, not popularity of one point of view over another. It is up to the voters whose role is lifelong, not the candidates, whose positions are temporary, to uphold and strengthen our democratic system.
If you choose, use the following questions to guide your thoughts about the Maine Governor’s election.
1) If I were the Governor, what would I do?
If your answer to this question is “I don’t know” you have already undermined the substance of your vote. Leadership of a county, a city, a state or a nation is really no different than running a business or guiding a family. We all have something going for us that could make us a good candidate for governor. Start your voting decisions by thinking about how you run your own life and use what works and what doesn’t to evaluate candidate plans.
2) What are they selling?
Remember that political advertisements are sales tactics, not policy statements. Find opportunities to read and listen to candidates in real life. See if you can get beyond the political pitch to identify exactly what a candidate is selling. Then decide if their campaign process and policy content represent the product you would like to receive in exchange for your vote.
3) How could I vote for “the other candidates?”
Use a variety of media sources, not just your favorites, to observe both favorable and unfavorable perspectives on all of the candidates. Choose three good reasons to vote for candidates you like the least and use those strengths to guide your post-election support of that candidate’s leadership should they win the election.
4) Who’s a loser?
On the day after an election, winners rejoice and losers mourn when in all truth, we should all be happy. We have a social system that allows us to debate ideas, shake things up a bit and make choices. And so far at least, the world has not come to an end in a moment just because the other guy or gal won the election. All of the Maine candidates for governor clearly care about the state and our future. As voters, success for Maine should be our common concern and our common objective no matter who serves leadership to the stae for the next four years.
Several Maine media outlets have gone the extra mile to provide objective coverage of this season’s candidates for Governor. Use Maine Biz candidate interviews, the recent WCSH TV 6 moderated candidate debate and MPBN short video interviews on Facebook to augment your own sources of information. If a good source of objective coverage is missing from this list, please comment below.