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Do not take your right to vote lightly

Thoughts from Behind the Pressline

The election cycle is now in prime time, both on the local scene as well as nationally with next year’s presidential campaigning in full swing. As I began developing a plan for this week’s column my thoughts kept alternating between the local and national scene, with the common denominator being the frustration so many feel about our political system. There is an old saying about the definition of “insanity,” it’s doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. The older you get and more election cycles you’ve lived through you begin to look at that definition with an entirely different set of eyes.

In today’s society we’ve accepted the concept of “winning at all cost.” Spurred on perhaps by sports competition, talking heads, political figures, television shows and product advertisements, society seems to condone that “winning at all cost” produces collateral casualties. Still, we love winners… right up to the time they lose. Then we shrug our shoulders, jump off the losing band wagon and look for the next rising star to latch on to.

There is so much at stake both locally and nationally in the upcoming elections that we can not afford to get caught up in the hype of the campaign, nor can we as voters continue to be a part of the past election cycle insanity, doing the same thing over and over then being disappointed when the results leave us right back where we were. Perhaps it’s not the hype of the campaigns that needs to change but the manner in which the electorate responds to the campaigns. No longer can we depend on voting the party line, nor can we just “vote the bums out” because the new “bum” may be worse than the previous “bum.” Protesting the political system as the Tea Party has tried to do, has only resulted in them being marginalized and demonized by the establishment. So where does that leave us if we are truly looking to change the direction of government?

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