76 Days Until Mid Term Elections

Politics is a process. 

As much as we want things to happen on our time; there is a process for candidates to announce, to get their names on the ballot, to win/lose their primary election and to make it to the general election ballot.  With 76 days to go, what we have is what we have.

I have heard some people say that they are not excited about the candidates on the ballot this November or that younger voters want the old folks to get out of the way for new leadership.

I have two observations about these arguments. You may have to deal with them during your Get Out the Vote (GOTV) efforts because I am sure a few people will use them as an excuse not to vote.

First, politics is not meant to be exciting. Politicians were historically considered to be the nerds among society who wanted to sit in rooms to debate laws and policy, to negotiate and compromise in the best interest of all citizens, to be civil servants elected by the people for the people. When we started to treat politicians like celebrities, looking for sound bites and photo ops, we began to distort the role of our elected officials. We now elect people based on name recognition and who they could draw to their fundraisers. If you hear someone say they are not excited by the upcoming election, tell them, "good". This isn't about excitement. This is about selecting the smartest and most capable persons to run our government. We don't need excitement. We need competence.

Second, I understand the desire for new leadership and agree wholeheartedly but what we are not going to do is act like the Elijah Cummings', Hillary Clinton's, John Lewis', Nancy Pelosi's and Maxine Waters' need to fade into the background for a new group of leaders who just popped up and got interested in politics. These leaders have been holding it down for us since way back when. They were at the forefront of these fights for Social Security, affordable housing, and confirming justices at all levels when a lot of us weren't even voting consistently. No, they have not always made the best decisions but like most of us, they were doing their best with the information they had. Times have changed and so have the solutions that are needed to solve our problems. What they should do is start mentoring and working more closely with the next generation of leaders, not interns, to ensure they understand the intricacies of our government. It's not as easy as it looks. You don't show up and everything starts to change (ask President Obama how well that worked). There are committees and procedures that must be considered as well as fundraising. The same is true for your local community. Encourage candidates who have held positions for a long time and done a good job for your community to mentor younger leaders so that they can be prepared to lead. We need the wisdom of our elders and the energy of the current generation. It should not be a competition. There should be intergenerational leadership so that all of our interests are represented.

These political change arguments are very similar to the ones we hear in the church. If we just replace these old leaders with younger leaders or if we just make the service more exciting then things will change. Wrong! You have to work on fixing a broken system, otherwise, it doesn't matter who is leading the sinking ship or how great the music is on the Titanic, it's still gonna sink. Those people that so many want to throw away were also on the front lines fighting us to have and maintain the right the vote. Let's consider how we can each do our part to create solutions. From there, the next generation of leaders will rise up.

 

LaKesha Womack