May 6, 2014

My Point Is: Keeping it clean...

By Nita Johnson
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The primary election is just 15 days away and the political battles are heating up.

This is nothing unusual, especially during years of local elections.

But each campaign has its own little quirks and twists that make the races unique in their own manner.

Thus far the mud-slinging has been limited to just a few local races. The battle for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Mitch McConnell is one that promises to continue into the general election in November, as challenger Matt Bevin has cast out his own attack against the long-standing contender and Allison Grimes will seek to unseat McConnell this fall.

This particular campaign causes great confusion. Bevin tells one story about McConnell, which contrasts greatly with McConnell’s advertisements. It also leaves a bitter taste for politics in general, which is one reason that Kentucky’s voter turnout on election day is commonly very low.

Negative campaigns leave a bitter taste for voters. This is one voter who has vowed to never click the box for someone who can do nothing but slander the opponent in political campaigns — regardless of the party affiliation. While incumbents can always refer to their past experience, challengers often resort to picking — or creating — negative facts to promote their own purpose. I personally am not interested in what failures or shortfalls come from the current office holder or political candidate. I want to know what this candidate has planned to better my state and community.

So, as the days to this month’s primary narrow down, some ideas for candidates are similar to the same morals that apply to life in general:

1. Consider the impression you make. Remember the adage: You can draw more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.

2. Know the facts you present to others. Incorrect statements make you look uninformed or indicate that someone else is running your campaign.

3. Never argue something unless you know you are right — and can prove it. An extremely unpopular quote I use frequently is “Don’t argue something unless you know what you are talking about. Otherwise, you just look ignorant.”

4. Tell me what you want to accomplish, rather than what your opponent has or hasn’t done correctly. No further explanation needed.

5. Keep it clean. Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones and we all undoubtedly have some clutter in our closets or some skeletons in our family tree that should not be aired publicly.

6. If you commit to something, keep your word. Candidates who make promises they don’t intend to keep cast a bad view of all politicians in general and your absence at important functions might cost a few votes. Just a couple of those could cost you the election.

The privilege of choosing the person best suited to represent your voice is a right that each of us should cherish. An uninformed or misinformed candidate indicates that the person is being goaded or used so others can obtain their own personal goals. This has happened in Laurel County in the past and the outcome cast our county in a less than positive light. Someone who is not committed enough to carry through with their promises before the election sends up red flags concerning their reliability if elected.

If we want this state, this community, and this nation to flourish, we must have elected officials with a vision, not an agenda. We must have elected officials who care about the people they represent and who listen to their concerns and work toward reaching that goal.

Without that, the May 20 election — and every other one after that — is little more than a waste of time.