Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Red Carpet Candidates
I have to agree with the actress Susan Saradon: the coverage of the 2008 Presidential campaign is beginning to sound more and more like those inane interviews on the red carpet at a movie premiere!
Do I really care that Chuck Norris is backing Mike Huckabee? Or that Oprah likes Obama? Or Barbara Streisand (and apparently Fabio) think Hilary is to die for? NO!!
And yet, I know there are people out there who will let celebrity, or kinfolk, make up their minds for them about who should inherit the mess this administration has made. That's sad.
It's unfortunate that the rest of the country doesn't have the opportunity that the people of my home state of New Hampshire have: a chance to button-hole candidates, put them on the spot, and not simply swallow what they say in their TV ads. But then, people in the rest of the country don't necessarily know much about the person who is their state representative or state senator. Not true of New Hampshire. Granite staters know their politicians because they are their neighbors literally. Our state House of Representatives has 400 members, making it the third largest legislative body in the English-speaking world. Growing up in my home town of 12,000, we had five state representatives. And I lived with one of them!
Some think it's ridiculous to have such a large legislature for such a small population. It is. Lawmakers aren't paid squat in New Hampshire, and the big perks are things like passes to UNH sports, and free tolls on the highways. But think about it: people know their local lawmaker, and they don't see them as these mighty and powerful beings sitting under a golden dome in Concord because they know that these folks are the guy who sells vegetables on the road side, or the wife of the dry cleaner down the street. Tends to take the mystique off of the word politician, doesn't it? Truly, a representative government.
That's why New Hampshirites require candidates to really court them every four years. The ones that do spend the time and do get down-and-dirty with the electorate and take time to listen to the people are often the ones who rise to the top on Primary Day. If only all of this country's voters would be so demanding! Those states, such as Florida, that keep messing with their Primary dates don't get it. We don't need to change the date on which we vote for these people; the voters need to make candidates earn the job of President by taking a closer look at who is running. Don't be afraid to ask them a question...even if you have to do it by email, and if they don't answer you, follow up with a demand that they do! And don't let them make you think you don't have right to ask. They want your vote; make 'em work for it.
Don't vote for someone because Oprah or Barbara or Chuck or your husband told you to. That's a cop out.