Wednesday, 8/4/2020 | : : UTC-5
Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Honey, vinegar, spotlight hogs and votes

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Lynette Sowell

My front porch

 

So, here we go, it’s election season again in our city—if you didn’t know. Be prepared for “sign time.”

The beauty and drawback (depending on how you look at it) of our system is we have the privilege and right to run for office and to vote, although it’s sad that the majority exercise their apathy instead.

I would like to ask: What makes someone a good candidate for office? What’s on your list of qualities you appreciate and value in someone who holds a position of leadership and say-so?

People running for office are no better than those of us who don’t. The main difference between us and them is their willingness to devote their time and energy toward our city and have the authority to make decisions that can and do affect us all. (Or, our county—there are a few big races coming up for 2018 and candidates will soon be taking aim at the March 2018 primary.)

I can think of several things, like knowledge. Does this person have a knowledge of how our city government works? If not, does someone running for office show they are willing to learn?

I don’t care how nice someone is or how good a friend they may be, if they don’t have the skills and knowledge, they won’t get my vote.

Example: Years ago, my hubby and I were in a tight spot and needed brake work on our car. A friend offered to replace the brake pads at no charge if we bought the supplies, so we said, “Sure.” Two days later, this friend still hadn’t figured out what to do. My husband and I looked at each other and said, “**** is a great guy, but he has no clue what he’s doing.”

So we called someone else and within the hour, someone else with the knowledge and tools to get the brake pads changed had finished the job.

Does this candidate have listening ears? Once the winner takes their place, the phone calls will begin, residents asking about issues important to them. Having a listening heart is also important.

Does this person have the ability to see perspectives besides their own? If it’s always “my way or the highway” that can make for bumpy ride.

Also related to the above, do they take things personally? When someone disagrees with them, do they construe it as a personal attack? Or is it simply part of dealing with people?

Can this person vote against the flow? If there’s something they don’t agree with that the others favor, will they have the courage to cast a vote and show they don’t agree?

Do they make decisions based on what the community wants and/or what is best for the community, or do they vote according to their personal preferences?

Does this person cultivate a spirit of community? We can be a unified community, working together, even if we don’t always agree on the way to get there.

Speaking of which, do they produce vinegar or honey by their words and/or actions?

Like the southern mama says, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” In order to get things done, sometimes being nice and kind goes a long way. It’s not just kindergarten skills.

Are they a spotlight hog? Is it always about me-me-me?

I keenly remember student council races back in middle and high school, when we’d rally around our friends running for student council. Sometimes elections can draw the spotlight hogs into what amounts to a popularity contest. Hey, it’s not called the popular vote for nothing. But will this winner of the popular vote promote themselves, or the community?

Good luck to the candidates and may the voters get out in force this year instead of exercising their right to apathy. It’s a long time until November.

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