I am admittedly a Blowellian – a blow-in to my home in Lowell, MA. Right there, that may discount any opinions I hold because I’m not “from here”. One would never guess that from my clearly mid-western dialect; I only recently stopped pronouncing a-u-n-t as /ant/.
I am, however, able to vote and with an upcoming municipal election on Tuesday, I plan to exercise that privilege.
As November 5th grows near, the tenor of this municipal election has turned somewhat vicious. A non-local PAC is spreading misinformation. And of course, social media plays its role in creating hostility between groups of people who hold opposing viewpoints. I’ve turned away from Facebook for the most part because of this – hopefully I’ve not missed anyone’s birthday!
In my own mind, I’ve made my decisions as to who I will vote for City Council and School Committee. I’ve listened and read and watched voter information sessions and thank the groups sponsoring such events for their commitment toward getting actual information to voters. I also have my own set of criteria which include:
- If I’ve contacted you and you’ve never had the courtesy to respond, even just to say “got your email”, you are not receiving my vote. This voter wants to know that you’ve heard me, even if we are on opposite sides of an issue. The courtesy of an automated reply is preferable to the dead silence of an elected official.
- Part 2 of the above. I don’t have such a giant ego that I would expect anyone to recognize me by name, but I do expect eye contact and maybe even a nod hello when we cross paths as in you acknowledge there’s another human in your orbit. I was actually in a room where two elected officials passed right by me – the only other person in the room. One gave me the nod hello, the other looked straight ahead as if no one else was there…. guess which one I’m voting for.
- Any candidate must be fully supportive of public education. I earned my entire education in the public schools (K-graduate school) and I had the privilege of working in traditional public schools for most of my career. I believe in them; I do not believe in privatization of public education in any way, shape, or form. If you do, we disagree and you are not on my list.
- If you don’t immediately know enough about something, say so. The word “yet” is a powerful statement as in I don’t know enough about that YET. To do otherwise is a sign of arrogance and unwillingness to pursue a better understanding.
- This community has changed. We need to ensure that the voices of everyone in the community are heard. I have lived a life of white, middle-class privilege and admittedly do not know a lot. If a candidate doesn’t believe the election lawsuit was overdue and necessary for ensuring all who make up Lowell are represented, you’re not on my list.
Name calling, smears…. this Blowellian doesn’t think those pre-election activities will benefit my now-adopted city. I’ve made my list and on Tuesday, I’ll be voting. How about you?