I get it — this election is terrible. The two main candidates for President couldn’t get much more awful and many of you are disillusioned by politics, even more than you were before.
I hear people say “politicians are crooks” (some are) or that they are all liars — only in it for themselves. That may be true of some — or perhaps many — leaders in high elected office. But it’s not true for all of them. And friends, I have to tell you, there are many many more positions to vote for this year than top dog.
So many people think only of the Presidency when it comes to voting. That’s why turnout is much higher in Presidential years. If only people would prioritize lower offices, especially hyper-local offices, they might start to make a dent of difference in higher places as well.
Do you know what Congressman represents your district? How about your Senators? Hopefully you know the Governor? You should. Start there. If you don’t know their names, hit up Google, write them down and learn something.
Don’t be that person that Jimmy Kimmel finds on the street who doesn’t know the name of the Vice-President or the Secretary of State, either (Hint: Joe Biden and John Kerry, respectively.)
Next, see who is running in your district in both Parties, spend a few minutes researching where they stand on the issues — and don’t just vote the Party line. It’s okay to like what a Democrat or Republican has to say, even if you don’t normally vote for that Party.
Who is your mayor? Who is on the City Council? (I will have to look this up too!) What other offices can you vote for? You see, Presidents matter, but your local government matters more for your more immediate life. And when you care about the issues and policies at that level, you have the chance to make a difference at a higher level too.
This week, I met a girl who wants to run for office someday. I found it refreshing because I hear so much negativity about politicians. She feels it’s something God has called her to do. I have no idea where she stands politically and I don’t care. I can tell this girl has a good heart and grand intentions to make a difference in the future.
You know many politicians get into this game for the same reasons. There are good people who believe their policies can make this country better, help people out of poverty, provide opportunity, prosperity, embolden freedom and help keep the United States the beacon of light that it is in the world.
Working in politics, as I saw most closely in my 2.5 years working for Congress, can be a bit of a strategy game. Sometimes people have to make compromises and you aren’t always going to agree with people you vote for 100%.
But don’t believe in no one — because there are good people out there that got into politics for the right reasons. Figure out who they are — and give them a shot.