An election reflection

by Vickie Scott-Woodley, special to our Blogful of Salt

November elections have slipped into yesterday’s news. My wounds are still weeping. Almost every cause and candidate I gave my energy and paltry dollars to fell in defeat. Left in the dust of disappointment I ponder “Where do we go from here?”

I remember that during these dark moments in election history my father would say “I don’t think the electorate is intelligent enough to be a democracy.” I am sure I heard these whispers coming from his dusty Urn. Of course we wouldn’t want the alternative but have to quake at the reality that the will of 54% percent of the 64% who are registered voters (who are only about 70% of eligible citizens) cast the votes that determine the laws and leadership of our country. That proves the power of the single vote. You are voting for 3 or 4. (2004 statistics) For simple math, within a community of 1000 people, about 700 are eligible to vote, but only 420 do vote and of those 226 carry the majority. That is less than 25% of the people making the laws of the land.

As in all aspects of life, we now have two choices. Give up (after all what good came from all that effort?) or take the results as a challenge. My decision has not been as immediate as it should have been. If we are going to prevail over this reign of political terror that I fear will be the next two years, we need to work smarter. I have arrived at 5 strategic points for action.

1. We do know that the electorate quickly falls behind the cute one liner. KISS, keep it simple. Hit hard, hit frequently and hit in simple terms that will fit within the narrow margins of voters intellect.

2. The electorate has a very short attention span. It takes 14 times for the average adult to remember a new concept. Repetition, every opportunity up to the day ballots are cast.

3. The electorate does not vote from a moral compass. Make the message personal. How will the voter benefit. Cost, comfort, power are the primary incentives that put pen to ballot. “What is in it for me?”

4. Be informed. Educate and illuminate. Be ready to respond to false assumptions. We had the ammunition to deflect false information but seemed to lack the resolve to defend and willingness to fight.

5. Avoid confrontation. It is not enough just to be right – we want to win. Whenever debate takes on a confrontational tone you loose. The adversary takes on a defensive position and the point is lost in the rhetoric.

Now is the time to be working on controlling the future of our community, and our country. Pick your cause and define your plan of action.

My personal goal is ending the war in Afghanistan. We need to scream out daily, weekly and personally what this war is costing. I want to write it on street corners, twitter it in cyber space, tattoo it on my forehead. I want my grandson to come home safe and well with the thousands of other young men and women. One disappointing election will not keep me down. How about you?