Choose wisely

Some countries have mandatory military service for all its citizens. I wish the U.S. required every one of its citizens to do one week of census work among neighborhoods that make up the left side of the housing price bell curve. We would make better decisions in the voting booth if we had a sense of what everyday life is like for people who don’t have the advantages those of us in Chapel Hill have.

Tomorrow, Election Day, is the day of reckoning for our vision of the future. Do we elect leaders who aim to enable everyone to make a better life for themselves, or leaders who make policies that benefit those we would like to consider our peer group?

Mitt Romney’s guiding philosophy seems to be to gear his policies toward those already on a trajectory of success. And if you can’t keep up, to hell witcha. Those who don’t have the wherewithal to keep pace might move away or be thrown in jail or die young, and eventually the rest of us won’t have them to trip over on our way to the top.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, understands a president governs all citizens. Obama believes in people pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, and his policies devote some resources to explaining what a bootstrap is and what up looks like. Children, especially, benefit from opportunities to see what life has to offer beyond their families and neighborhoods, and maybe they’ll make better decisions and avoid mistakes their parents made.

There is tremendous wealth and tremendous need in the midst of our community. In these last few days of encouraging people to vote, I’ve knocked on doors of weathered trailers, some anchored across from a gated community. I’ve talked to people who live in an old school bus, and people who live at the end of driveways so long, I hiked back to my car and drove to their elegant house (only to find a Romney supporter taking out his anger on me because his son registered as a Democrat).

This election will reveal whether we want our country to be inclusive or exclusive. Though we don’t have any municipal seats on the ballot Tuesday, council members, too, should remember that their decisions on the dais determine whether Chapel Hill still values the socioeconomic diversity it once embraced. Do we want to make room for the working class and middle class? Or do we want to shoo them out to communities of their own kind and make them commute in to serve those of us who are landowners, or luxury renters, in town?

The decisions each of us make matter. Make sure you vote in this election, and choose wisely.
– Nancy Oates

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  1. Terri Buckner

     /  November 5, 2012

    There are a number of local races that matter. First and foremost in my mind (besides the transit issue) is the race for the North Carolina Supreme Court seat between Sam Ervin (registered Democrat) and Paul Newby (registered Republican). Judges are supposed to be non-partisan and are eligible for campaign financing. But this race is using private financing and money from outside of NC is pouring in for Paul Newby. We have to stand up and say that money doesn’t buy elections in North Carolina (preferably for the United States). Say NO to Newby and partisanship in our judicial system.

  2. JWJ

     /  November 5, 2012

    Ms. Buckner:

    Definitely agree with your point on local / state races that matter. But your reasoning on being pro-Ervin confuses me (sorry for not getting the logic).

    Your post implies (if I read it correctly) that money from outside NC is not being spent on the Ervin campaign. Cause a 90-second search turned up that a 527 org called Common Sense Matters is donor to Ervin, and the left to far-left Washington D.C. based lobbying organization, NEA Advocacy, donated $20,000 to Common Sense Matters. That is partisan money coming from outside NC going to Ervin.

    So if money from outside NC is bad and a reason not to vote for someone, then shouldn’t people not vote for Ervin cause of the outside NC money being spent on Ervin’s campaign?

    Or is it because (I think anyway based on some quick research) more PAC money is being spent on Newby (I think the money being spent directly from each campaign is relatively equal)? If the amount of money is the primary case, are you advocating that whichever candidate either spends the most or has the most outside the state money should lose state-wide elections?

    Or are their partisan reasons for voting Ervin? Other than you being in favor Ervin, I’m not understanding how the money reason (as I attempt to understand it) could be applied consistently.

  3. phsledge

     /  November 5, 2012

    In the 2008 race the zip code 27514 donated more money to the Nat’l Democratic Party than any other in the county. Bet that is not the case now. Just saying.

  4. Terri Buckner

     /  November 6, 2012

    JWJ–so I did the 5 minute google search as you suggested and what I found was Common Sense Matters, a liberal special interest group, spending money to support Ervin, after Justice for All NC, a conservative special interest group with corporate ties, began running attack ads against Ervin. I hate the “he started it” excuse, but in the case of our elections, if the attackee doesn’t fight back with similar tactics, he loses. So the winner is reinforced for bad behavior.

    Whether the attackee fights back or takes the moral high ground and chooses not the use similarly unsavory tactics, it’s the democracy that loses.

    Corporations should not be treated as people; money should not be the basis for democracy. Citizens should not just shrug and say there’s nothing we can do about it.