Not thrilled with candidates …Written by admin on August 23rd, 2012
By Sue Moynagh
This is not an article that endorses one candidate over another for any of the races this election cycle. Rather it is an observation that it is becoming increasingly difficult for some voters to choose any of the nominees when it is time to vote. Let me start by saying that I am a registered Democrat. I was a member of the city Democratic Committee and Ward 6 Chair for several years. I went from being unenrolled in any party to becoming an active member of the Democratic Party because I consistently voted for this party’s candidates and I also wanted to become even more involved politically. I worked in a number of campaigns and even won female Democrat of the Year award from the City Committee in 2010. So what changed?
Over the past few years, it has become difficult to find a candidate that supports what I support. For example, I voted for President Obama, not because I thought he was the most qualified choice for the Presidency, but because I could not support McCain with Sarah Palin as a running mate. I am a middle of the road Democrat, and feel uncomfortable with the positions of both extreme left members of my party and those of the ultra right conservatives. As an individual, my main concerns are protecting the environment, creating jobs, health care and public safety. Yes, I am concerned about foreign affairs, the state of the nation’s infrastructure, education and the growing national debt, but personally, it is becoming more important to me to concentrate on what concerns me directly.
When I was in my late forties, I was told that I could never get a good job because I lacked college degrees. I went back to school, and earned my degrees. I also graduated at the peak of the economic crisis, when hundreds of thousands of people were losing jobs. I am almost 60 and things are not much better.
Supposedly, the economy is improving, slowly but surely. The National unemployment rate as of July 2012 was 8.3%, and the Massachusetts Department of Labor and Workforce Development projects an increase in job growth by 2.5% by 2018 within our part of the state. Sure there are jobs available, but most that I see are part time and pay minimum wage. They do not provide a living wage. Other jobs require specialized training. Employers say jobs remain unfilled because there are no qualified workers. The unemployment rate is truly much higher because it does reflect the fact that many people have given up searching for jobs, many are underemployed, and some graduates and young adults are just entering the job market. Unless you have good connections, your search may be long and fruitless.
I did work for a time as Interim Executive Director for a local Community Center, and I worked with a large number of individuals and families that needed additional assistance because they did not even come close to making a livable wage. Many clients could not find any employment or were underemployed, working even less than 20 hours a week. Most of these people have never asked for assistance before, and some feel like they have no hope of ever getting back on their feet. I know how they feel. How can you feel hope when even cashier jobs are slowly being phased out in pharmacies and supermarkets? I recently spoke to someone who said that a local company he worked for has outsourced its consumer outreach calls. We need jobs for all skill and education levels.
I am frustrated by the lack of any meaningful attempts to encourage job creation. I have never seen such polarization between parties. No one wants to compromise. Elections have always included mud-slinging between candidates, but it seems more pronounced now. I want meaningful solutions. I want to see stronger economic growth, job creation, education that helps graduates attain these positions that require specialized training and I especially want to see progress that sustains and protects the environment, not destroy it.
I speak to a lot of people about politics, and many feel as I do. Quite frankly, many Democrats are tired of President Obama. They feel that he has had his chance, but his ideas are not working. Some feel he has compromised too much, especially on environmental issues. Almost all brought up “socialism.” However, like me, they don’t feel that Romney is much better. The ultra right conservatives feel he is too moderate. Others, middle of the road Democrats, feel that he has nothing to offer. He has changed his opinion on key issues such as women’s rights and health care too many times, and he knows nothing about how the “real” men and women struggle and fail to make ends meet. People feel this way about the Elizabeth Warren/ Scott Brown contest.
I consider voting a privilege and a responsibility. I do my homework and vote for the best choice. If I feel strongly about what a candidate can bring to the office, I campaign for him or her. I will not be campaigning this year, and I don’t want to settle for the lesser of two evils when I cast my ballot. Many of the people I talk to feel the same way. We are tired of meaningless campaigns that focus on how much crap one person can dig up and throw at the other. We want informative, insightful discussions about issues and some plans that offer real solutions. We want “positives” not “negatives!”
None of us expect miracles from anyone who comes into office, but we want to believe that we can all move forward in these hard times, not just the top one percent of our population. We want to think we can work and improve our quality of life as individuals and families, and we want our future generations to have their chances to achieve the American dream.