Moving forward after an election

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

Elections in general bring about flagrant and sometimes explosive emotions. You have passionate supporters of candidates giving uncompromising loyalty to those they support, despite flaws in their candidates seen by others. That is one of the liberties that makes this country so great, the freedom of choice regardless of what others may feel about your candidate. However, the inability of some constituents to work with chosen candidates going forward can stifle the ability of capable elected candidates eager to serve their constituents.

In all honesty, you cannot always say the best candidate was elected—but instead was the one who received the greatest amount of votes from those who voted. You can only hope the elected official opts to work in the best interests of all parties considering what is best for the community as a whole. This means not overlooking the concerns of those in the community, pandering to an isolated selected group with ulterior motives or for personal selfish gain. We can only hope that elected officials knowingly do not compromise the trust of those who elected them.

Many times you have voters upset when their candidate loses. They harbor sour grapes and often give up on the voting process and continuously find fault in the elected official. Sometimes critiquing the performance of an elected official may be warranted when it is quite evident that a candidate won more on popularity than qualifications. We all know that family name recognition can be a bonus when voters are unaware of the qualifications or visual images of potential candidates.

Unfortunately, the need or desire to help push some candidates over the edge may manifest unsavory conducts and actions by some of the workers campaigning for a candidate. These behaviors or tactics may or may not be supported by the candidate and can have some unforeseen unpleasant consequences.

Mudslinging and trying to belittle rival opponents may be tactics to sway votes, but can often backfire. The truth of the matter is that you have voters who look down on negative efforts by rivaling opponents in attempts to discredit their competition—even though sometimes there is critical information that can help voters in deciphering who is better qualified to represent them.

Campaigning can be an informative and insightful experience in helping prospective voters decide who is best qualified to represent them. In the end, however hard it may be, we must respect the choice of the majority regardless of our personal feelings. Being disrespectful and hostile toward an elected official you oppose doesn’t help serve anyone.

Monitoring and keeping abreast of the actions and voting records of elected officials are positive options to hold elected officials accountable. Transparency and open communication with elected officials should be mandatory, including open visibility and participation in the community. Noncompliance should act as a report card for not retaining an incumbent seeking re-election.

Local elections are probably more important than presidential elections in putting officials in position to directly legislate or dictate how you live. Choosing the best-qualified candidates should not always be predicated on friendship or popularity, especially if you know for a fact that person is not the best qualified to serve the public.

Sometimes in life, we don’t always get what we personally want, but we must be respectful of the wishes of others who may differ from us. Giving up in voting is a cop-out and only serves to deprive you of the greatest power you have in empowering your life and making a difference.

Let’s go forward in giving elected officials due diligence and respect until they prove themselves unworthy. If the elected officials have improprieties, hidden self-promoting agendas, or are incompetent, it will surface in time. Until proven otherwise, let’s take the high road.