I'm tired. I feel like this has been one of the longest election cycles ever and it's not over yet. On election day I will be voting for President Obama. Although I'm a registered Democrat, I'm not voting for him because I'm following the party line. I'm also not voting for President Obama because he's African-American. I'm voting for him because in my opinion he's the best person for the job and deserves another four years.
One thing I have realized during this election cycle is the depths both parties must go to get their candidate elected.
There are issues with both parties. There is spin on both sides. Do I fault them? No, I fault us, the American people. We have allowed ourselves to be reduced to listening to 30 second sound bites. We have allowed big money to contribute to a point of virtually running the campaigns and setting the agenda. We have become so complacent that we just want somebody to tell us what to do. We have become so focused on the national election that we forget that the rubber hits the road at the local level. Voter suppression, Stand Your Ground laws, and many others happen at the state level, we need to ensure that we are paying close attention to our local elections.
Gun violence, reforming our criminal justice system, climate control and the environment. These are just a few national issues that neither party is addressing. Not to mention that elections are now only focused on a few "battleground" states. Those of us that live in "red" or "blue" states are overlooked at the national level since its assumed that the state has already been won (or lost for that matter).
What we really need is campaign reform. No more war chests, no more super pacs. Let's get down to basics. Set a dollar amount for each candidate and tell them to make it work because that's all they're allowed to spend. Let's limit the amount of advertising. There's a lot of people getting rich off of these political campaigns and I don't see them complaining. When all is said and done over $2 billion will have been spent on federal elections.
I believe in our political process. I also believe that it's up to us to change it for the better. We can no longer accept mediocrity. We must hold our elected officials accountable, starting at the local level.
For the record I must state that the views and opinions in this post are mine alone and do not necessarily represent the views of the Marketplace for Social Awareness and Social Responsibility.
Ernest R. Heyward is the Founder and President of the Marketplace for Social Awareness and Social Responsibility Inc.