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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Sound Off: Perfection?

This Sound Off was submitted by Terry Riley:
Are you perfect?  I don't think so. I don't think that I am either. I am hearing people complaining that a political candidate is not perfect. I am concerned because I am hearing that so much lately.  We all read the news, so we know that no incumbent is perfect. Did we think that they were perfect when we originally voted for them? Would you like to learn how to make them better?

Attend meetings and rallies that feature the candidates and listen to their presentations. Take some time and wait around after their presentation so that you can speak with them individually. Tell the candidates what you really feel, what is important to you, and then listen to how they respond to you. If their response is not what you want, but they acknowledge your argument, then this is a good candidate. If this issue is very important to you, yet you did not convince them to support it, then you need to work on a better presentation so you can convince the candidate to think and work in the direction that you believe is best.

Once you understand your issue and where your candidate stands, you have to decide how you want to influence them.  Present your issue with supporting documentation and endorsements. This will get your candidate to better consider your side. If you support candidates who support your issues you have the best chance of getting your problems or issues taken care of after they get elected. The candidates NEED your vote on election day so be sure to tell them what issues are important to you and how they can earn your vote.  If you have others who stand with you when you present your ideas or issues the candidate immediately recognizes the importance to them of responding to you. 

If a candidate still does not agree on the issue that you are working on, then you have to evaluate their other positions on other issues to see if you can support their candidacy at all or if you need to support their opposition. Choosing to give up and not support or vote for either candidate completely invalidates your opinions and your rights. Things that are important to you will not be dealt with if you never stand up and ask for the support.

Candidates rely on rallies or town hall meetings to build their voting base. If you stand up and present your issue or question respectfully the rest of the people there will be interested to hear the candidate’s response. Present yourself well enough and the response of the other people at the event will convince the candidate that your position on your issue is going to help them get elected.  This is how you can help a candidate become your perfect candidate!

Now, let’s go back to the beginning of this. You want the perfect candidate. How much are you willing to do to get this perfect candidate and is perfection realistic?  You have to attend many events. You have to write out your views and deliver them to your candidate and their campaign staff. You have to find many people who support your views and have them accompany you on a visit to your candidate so the candidate can see what support your issue has.

After you have convinced the candidate that your side of the issues that you feel strongly about deserves their commitment, you then have an obligation to work to make sure that this candidate gets elected. You need to learn the rest of the issues that this candidate supports and meet with people on behalf of YOUR candidate. Convince as many people as you can to vote for your candidate.  Getting what you want is not easy. 

Griping about stupid politicians or dumb laws or government excesses is useless. Standing up for what you believe in and supporting candidates who understand and agree with you on your issues is how Democracy works. Please join me in reviving our Democracy, finding and improving on those almost perfect candidates, and in rebuilding the political parties. Put real ethics, work ethics and ethical standards back at the forefront of politics in America.

Terry Riley
Democracy for New Mexico, Democratic Party of New Mexico, Veterans for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, etc.

Sound Off is a regular feature of the blog that provides an opportunity for readers to communicate their views on a variety of topics. If you'd like to submit a post, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link on the upper left-hand side of the main page.

June 13, 2006 at 10:34 AM in Candidates & Races, Sound Off! | Permalink


If voters have to "CONVINCE" a candidate to support their side of an issue, then quite frankly that candidate isn't representing his/her constituency. The candidate is asking for MY vote and it's up to him/her to convince ME that he/she will do the best job of representing ME and MY interests. That's why they are ELECTED and not appointed, so they can represent what the VOTERS want and not their own personal choices, or those of special interests. BTW, the best way to make a politicians better is by setting high ethical standards and holding them accountable.

Posted by: VP | Jun 13, 2006 7:28:00 PM

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Our leaders have so many issues to contemplate and are pulled in so many directions that it is overwhelming.

While a politician IS campaigning, unfortunately, most people they get a chance to talk with are political operatives, contributors, business and work associates and FAMILY. Then that politician hits the sack for 6-7 hours of deep sleep.

Take a woman like Patricia Madrid...what do you think should be at the front of her thoughts?

Would it be her very elderly parents living out each day as a gift from God?

Would it be the well-being of her extensive family? I assure you that her son is in her thoughts every day.

Would it be the well-being of the citizens of the state of NM? Yes, this is a primary motivator for her to rise each day early and proceed with an exhausting schedule into late at night.

Would it be the constant nagging and whip cracking from Dem operatives to always be raising money for not only her campaign but for the campaigns of fellow Dems?

On top of that, she has to carefully guard her health and TAKE the TIME to excersize and prepare healthy meals for herself and family. She also has dogs that need her loving attentions each day. She benefits greatly from her pets. They give her joy and relax her. She must daily nourish her marriage. She NEVER neglects her wonderful husband. He makes her laugh each and everyday. He provides security, companionship and deep friendship to her.

Our leaders and politicians are just strong human beings. That is all.
I think that while a person is caught up into the whirlwind of governing and earning their way, the values that they held and developed earlier in life unconsciously asserts themselves. Real changing of mind and deepest contemplation and evolution of ideas, concepts and thoughts can only occur during periods of quiet.

Posted by: qofdisks | Jun 14, 2006 1:31:13 AM

I strongly disagree with VP, and I agree with gofdisks. Part of being engaged in politics is centered on lobbying for one's point of view. How can a candidate or elected official know what voters want if they don't communicate it in a persuasive manner? There are many points of view on some issues, so it's important to get yours out there to officials, to be part of the dialogue.

Those who run for or hold offices need to hear from constituents. Otherwise, as gofdisks says, they hear only from political operatives and the special interests.

By their very nature, politics and government are about power struggles and tradeoffs. You have to make your views known, keep at it and tell your story in a convincing way to get noticed.

Gofdisks describes the difficulties and struggles of running for office very convincingly. If you've every worked at or near a campaign, you get a good idea of how hard it is to run for office.

Posted by: Old Dem | Jun 14, 2006 8:47:54 AM