Here's some of my thoughts on our current election cycle here in Dunwoody. And by the way I'm voting a straight Democratic ticket in this general election.
In the perfect world we wouldn’t have political parties, no PACs, and folks would run strictly on the merits of their platform and of which they stand. And how do you know where they stand? There’s a thing called the Internet, and I appreciate candidates who post readily available public details online of their personal platform, detailing what they will work towards and believe in. If the individual has no information, then you have to look at the party’s platform. Besides, what are they hiding? In addition to the major points that folks talk about, I also look to see where they stand on matters of Sustainability, Environment and Human-Powered Transportation options. -- Imagine a world where 50% or more of our K-12 children are walking or riding their bikes on a daily basis to school. Yes, that could be a reality if the majority of our local & state officials wanted that to happen.
I get it that having a track record of local, non-partisan accomplishments is a good thing at the city government level. Think about Paving, Police, Zoning, Code Enforcement and Stormwater systems. Maybe even Parks and Recreation. The list goes on. On many local issues, I've seen both Democrats and Republicans on the same side of an argument. Generally, there's no clear ideology to say if you support project X or oppose it that indicates your national party affiliation. Everyone I know wants transparent, accessible and fiscally responsible government. I'm a big fan of local control with responsive elected officials that you see out & about in your daily life.
But at the partisan office level, political parties have distinct and clear differentiation on major issues that go well beyond our Dunwoody borders and the work of our city government. Think about issues like healthcare, public school funding & oversight, social rights, the environment, true regional planning, post-secondary education & workforce training, criminal justice reform, and public transit. These fundamental issues are heavily debated regarding the role of government; and how and who should pay for services & capital goods. Did you know that libraries where fundamentally opposed because it wasn't supposed to be a role of government? The list goes on.
Want to outsource and privatize everything, and leave in place a "pay to play" system that only benefits the "haves"? There's gotta be a balance. When I see the athletic fields at Dunwoody High School requiring private donations to repair and upgrade, and being successful in raising locally to-date over three quarters of a million dollars, I ask myself, what about those kids down in South DeKalb? How will they have nice facilities? Every child in Georgia deserves to be on a level playing field when it comes to education, healthcare, and more. That's what good government does.
I’ve voted Republican in the past. Right here in Dunwoody (it can be looked up). In my decade living here, more than once have I been “talked down to” by prominent civic leaders because I’ve been labeled a Democrat. Or spoken to with a “we know what’s best, don’t you worry about it” attitude. In this election, how I’m casting my vote isn’t about the person asking to hold that office (Until 2020 for President, that is). And it certainly shouldn’t be about the party. It’s about how close ones personal beliefs and values line up with the candidates and initiatives listed on the ballot.
Like Ruth Bader Ginsburg being close friends with Antonin Scalia, yet being on opposite sides of many court opinions, let’s hold each other to those same standards. When we see each other in person in the coming weeks, let’s respect one another for our differing points of view. And simply enjoy a human to human conversation and relationships.
PS: I can’t WAIT to get into the midst of our local city elections for 2019 (!). I won’t be on the sidelines for that one. Who will earn our vote to be our next mayor????