Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?
These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.
Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...
...seems to be working so far
Monday, February 16, 2009
Election Prep 101
I have to admire those that do throw their hats into the ring. The other day, a neighbor stopped by and asked us to sign papers in order to put herself on the ballot for school committee. We signed, and if elected, I know she will do a fine job. I don't know her too well, but what I do know about her in the almost three years I have been here on Route 148, is that she is a good person. That's a sure qualifier, being a good person.
Being a good person is something that one is, or they ain't. One can pretend to be good, as many in politics do, but they are found out pretty early on. Unfortunately, that "early on" is often after the election. Being a good person encompasses a lot of variables. The Golden Rule is something a good person abides by everyday, that's just for starters. A good person will most always put another first before themselves. I think of my self as being good, but I don't think I would hesitate to eat a fellow a survivor, if I was ever stranded in the Andes, even before they were ready.
I have some things to work on.
A good person will have a thick skin and not let the slings and arrows of office affect them in a way that may be detrimental to those doing the slinging. I have a thick skin, but I know I would secretly Saran Wrap the toilet seat in the restroom of the Town Hall as a sort of "tit for tat" against the slingers.
When a person decides to run for a particular office one of the first thoughts that run through their head is, "Hey, I could do that, in fact, I could do it better!". That is the first step to doing more, and a better good. The next step is to share those "better" thoughts with others. They will either applaud the thoughts, or rip the person a new one. Very seldom is there an in between, but those that are not only good, but smart enough to allow compromise into their efforts, will be the ones that succeed.
So, to run for office one not only has to be a good person, but smart, and have an ability to compromise as well. All good traits for any one, not just a politician.
I have a lot of good traits, but I also have a number of ones that would not be displayed best in the Land of Public Office. Minor things, quirky things. Things I know could be improved, but most of these quirks I enjoy too much to change at this stage of the game.
Well, that rules me out as a candidate, but what about others? If one has a history of being a decent person, with a reputation of putting others first, community service, a knowledge of what is needed in the particular office, a track record of prudent ideas, and improvements in other areas that could be carried into office, then that person is worth a look. Now, not every good person will appeal to all the voters. Personality has a way of weighing more than actual knowledge at times.
The gregarious clown, or the timid bank clerk may meet all the other qualifications, but it is how they present themselves, not necessarily their ideas, that first spark the synapses of the voters brain in a positive way. After the brain says, "OK, so far so good, let's listen to more." then the actual weighing of the information the candidate has to offer can begin.
We're coming into election season here in Sturbridge, and many good, decent people are going to run for office. It is time for us, the voters, to shake out of our heads all the preconceived notions about the candidates. Start fresh. Look at not only what they have to offer to the town, but who they are as a person as well. They may have the best ideas, but are no more than a well spoken ignoramus.
Once the weighing of each candidate is complete, then vote for the one that you feel has the most good qualities, and ideas, to bring to the service of the town.
It's just that simple, but so often we tend to be swayed by personality, looks, reputation, mannerisms, education, or the organizations they belong to.
This time, not only weigh their words, but weigh their hearts.
That way one can't make a bad choice.