Public Speaker on Public Issues



Spring is not the only thing under full sway right now across the country. Fortunately for those who love freedom, the election primary season is also under full tilt. At least it is supposed to be! All too often, however, primaries mean far more to the candidates running than they do to the voting public.

All too often, election primaries are barely tolerated and largely ignored by voters. How many times have you heard your neighbor say, they don't bother to vote in a primary, only the general election? They utter things such as, I'm letting the candidates fight it out and I'll get serious about caring who gets into office during the general election. Frequently, Americans embrace the mantras of, 'I don't even know who's running.' or 'They all seem the same to me so it doesn't really matter.' You know the drill. I don't need to provide the full litany of 'comfort zones' used to justify taking no personal responsibility for who we eventually elect.

Regardless of political affiliation, political candidates demonstrate some level of concern as to how things go in this great nation. They are a gift to a free nation. Indifference to these gifts is, however, very often their fate.

Primary elections are actually more important then general elections. Why? Because primary cycles are where many very good but as yet unknown Americans are eliminated by lack of volunteer and financial support, and lack of the public's interest. Each of these elements make it possible to build name recognition and create the opportunities for the average citizen to take an up close and personal look at those wanting the 'brass ring'.

Whining all the time about how hard it is to get good folks to run for elected office, Americans' own lack of involvement and scrutiny during primaries is the repeated 'kiss of death' for many good candidates trying to make a difference in the nation.

The time when candidates need help, support and involvement the very most is during the primary period.

The reality is not that there aren't monies and volunteers out there. The reality is that the political courage to offer help during a primary is very often just not there. Pure and simple, it takes political courage to openly support someone, especially before they have not yet been validated by surviving the primary. Unfortunately, the arena of political courage is far less comfortable then the arena of political correctness.

Political correctness creates a comfort zone where one doesn't wear a campaign pin, or put a yard sign out, or offer to introduce various candidates to the folks in their communities so they can get familiar with the person and their platform. It's the zone where no one knows what you think, and you really like it that way.

The apolitical American is of absolutely no use in the defense of freedom. Yet the apolitical Americans expect someone else to do the heavy political lifting in defense of their rights. News flash folks, primaries are when the heaviest lifting is done. Trying to get your name and platform out there without much help is not an easy task.

The general public desperately wants good people to run for office. Yet that same public expects these candidates to find enough money and volunteers, to create immediate name recognition and to deliver issue identification on the same level as incumbent politicians. This is unfair to the candidates, and it reflects an overblown sense of self-importance on the part of voters.

We have come to think that everything should be provided for us, and brought to us without effort on our part. It's as though voters are waiting on the high altar of approval, snidely watching those poor souls clawing their way to the top. Primaries are when candidates, especially new ones need help the most and when they get it the very least. Whose fault is that folks?

Perfection in the political process is not necessary. Striving for excellence is, however, if freedom is to be preserved. It does this country little good to be voting into office public officials that make it to the general election voting box only because they could afford enough media hype to blur the fact that they really had no message or leadership.

Let's help our fellow Americans bring out the best in the world's finest political process. Let's make primary elections a primary concern for our futures.

~ Casper Star Tribune - April 23, 2002


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