As the dust begins to settle on the political landscape throughout the country, the most logical question for me is, “Now what?” Here in Ohio, many Democrats lost their seat, including the position of governor. Nation-wide, Republicans now have control of the House with their sites set on another house…the White House. But for now, will things really change like every politician promises? I suppose things will change at some level, but I seriously doubt anything significant will occur.
THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME
In Ohio’s governor race, Republican John Kasich ran his campaign on one single argument; that under opponent Ted Strickland’s term as governor the state lost more than 400,000 jobs. Now I’m not giving Strickland a pass here; Kasich’s argument is certainly fair game. But I wonder if at all it was possible to keep or gain jobs during a national recession? Might it have been worse under the leadership of someone else? Nobody can say. Perhaps Kasich will remedy this problem, perhaps not. My point is that both governors, although sitting on different sides of the aisle, could very likely have the same results in most of the key areas. Ideologically, Republicans and Democrats may be miles apart; but practically, they are more the same. Case and point is the fact that most election opponents accuse one another of the very same things: pork-barrel spending, ruining the economy, losing a war, increasing debt, and so on and so on. Republicans blame Democrats for the economic woes of the country, Democrats say they are only struggling to fix a giant mess caused previously by Republicans. People throw darts at the “blame board” to see who the fault will land on, because actual blame is far too complex for any one candidate to figure out. But throughout the barrage one thing is certain…politicians are a big part of the problem.
THE MIDDLE WAY
Being a moderate means that there are points from both sides that I agree with. I can’t fully endorse the entire agenda of Democrats or Republicans, so I’m Independent. Now I am much different from Independents who are conservative or liberal and claim Independent in order to pull their own party from the middle and closer to a polar end. In the end, these Independents will rarely vote for anything other than the party they’re trying to reform…no matter the candidate. A moderate Independent has a much more difficult task of discerning who to vote for. At first it seems easy, because a moderate knows that there’s going to be a couple things that they agree with any candidate about, creating less urgency. It’s also likely that change is not as imminent as a candidate suggests, leaving room for a moderate to consider a very important and needed element: character. Issues don’t take a back seat, but judging character plays a heavier role in the moderate vote. Those further from the middle on each side of the spectrum will likely vote less according to the actual candidate and more according to the side or party that they are on. Candidates know all of this, which is why they often resolve to slinging mud at their opponents and getting personal (b.t.w…this has an opposite effect with me). This is what makes voting hard to for the moderate, because we ultimately can’t get to know any candidate on a personal level and make an informed judgment.
HOW ABOUT YOU?
Unfortunately, I can’t offer any solutions at this point. This blog entry was meant to be more descriptive than prescriptive. If anyone has any suggestions on how they can best determine a candidate’s character and leadership capabilities, comment and let me know. Until then, keep searching your heart on the issues. And even though it’s difficult at times, get your vote in.