“Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn’t. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may.”
~ Mark Twain
This week’s torment from my stance on Community Matters (and its use) came with a personal price tag. I watched helplessly as something that I created and nurtured over the past eighteen months became a political football. Rather than feeling good about taking a stand for justice for Community Matters, and myself, I became the target; my words twisted and misinterpreted. In the words of William Shakespeare, “This above all; to thine own self be true”. That mantra proved particularly difficult to follow this week. Through the sadness and disappointment in some people, I learned some difficult life lessons . . . but, I also learned the meaning of true friendship.
In addition to Primary Election Day on Tuesday, May 17, it is the Special Election to decide which supervisor candidate, Molly Duffy or Mike Heaberg, will fill the unexpired Tredyffrin Township supervisor term left vacant by Warren Kampf’s election to State Representative. Tomorrow I plan to list the special election candidates, school board, board of supervisor and municipal judge candidates. I will make available his or her resumes and encourage everyone to get out and vote.
Based particularly on this week’s events, I offer some remarks on the new reality of partisan politics in local elections. Why are candidates for local office forced to play party politics in order to have a viable candidacy? Why can’t they just run as themselves? Whatever happened to “vote for the person, not the party?”
In my perfect world, municipal politics would be free of partisan interests. Those individuals elected to serve, would do so for all the community. The interests of the people would always trump the political party the elected official represents. In my perfect political world. There are, of course, no perfect political worlds, and Tredyffrin Township is no different from the rest.
Politics has the ability to bring out either the good or the bad in mankind. The human desire for power, if unchecked, is evil. Evil partisanship can destroy the fabric of a local community.
Perhaps more appropriate than the label of ‘Independent’, I guess I would call myself an ‘Idealist’. As an idealist, I lament for a future of local nonpartisan elections, where there will victoriously emerge individuals whose intelligence, integrity, intestinal fortitude, character and non-alliance with special interests are beyond question. I wish for a future where important issues and candidate differences can be fairly discussed and openly debated.
In the end, voters will elect whomever they think will do the best job — or at least that’s how they should cast their ballots. But what’s often said about democracy? Despite its obvious faults, it’s the best system of governing. The people, the voters, get to decide who governs them. That will be the final word on partisan politics in local elections, and local government.