When it comes to politics are we tired yet of making history? Are we tired of voting for candidates, because they are the first of something?
What do I mean?
Are we done voting for candidates based on what they might represent versus what they stand for? Are we done voting for a candidate because they check a box versus voting for the person and the issues they stand behind? Are we finally past the days of voting for someone solely because of the color of their skin, gender or ethnic background? Are we done voting for candidates strictly because they have a D or an R next to their name? My opinion is simply… No.
I do believe may registered voters are hung up in being part of something historic. Disinterested in detail and caught up in the hype and the buzz. Record turnouts came about in recent Presidential elections, so we could vote for the first African American President. Same holds true for Massachusetts two election cycles ago, where we voted in droves for the first African American Governor. The race for Governor this year in MA is being pitched by some as “The Year of the Woman”. And in 2016 hang on for the Hillary train!
Now would I proclaim that everyone who voted for President Obama did so based on his “First” status? No. I actually think it belittles candidates who hang their caps on their race or gender alone. However I am willing to bet the majority of the electorate did vote based on the race criteria. How about local political races? Example: Lantiqua vs. Abdoo. The race was billed as voting in the first Latino mayor. Where did that get you Lawrence?
This November, Lowell has its own political race being billed as historic. Voters in the 18th Middlesex will vote for either the first Independent candidate, Fred Bahou or the first Cambodian American candidate and Democrat, Rady Mom to be our next State Representative.
So either way, the voters in Lowell for the 18th Middlesex will make history. There are some who feel it’s important to give Rady Mom a vote, because of what he represents to a large contingent of Cambodian American voters living in the district. Vote for him, because he’s a first. There are some who feel perhaps it’s time to experiment with Fred Bahou and see how an Independent candidate would do representing the 18th amongst a sea of Democrats. Another first.
How about we the voters take the time and actually look at where these candidates stand on the issues? Let’s take a look at their back ground and see what they have done with their lives. Let’s see where they have stood in the community. Let’s see how successful they are in running a business or what they have achieved. More importantly let’s look at what they seek to achieve if they get elected? What are their priorities? How well do they know the issues? Where do they stand on issues? Will they work hard for us and do they listen?
I’ve already been approached by people who have asked me to vote for both candidates here in the 18th Middlesex. Sadly, I’m afraid all too often the requests lack solid issue oriented reasoning. Sure local races tend to fall on the lines of whom you know or who your sister or cousin went to school with, but not this time. The game has changed. Race, gender and political party have permeated into local politics and that alone makes history.