Vet the Candidates!
by Lynne Breyer, Arizona Freedom Alliance
When I was growing up, my dad would haul me out of bed each early morning by saying, "Get going! It's time to make the donuts!" I knew that meant the dawn of a new day full of possibilities, and it was my responsibility to get an early start and to make the most of it.
Today, we arise to a New Year, 2014, full of possibilities and hope and opportunities to make the most of it.
If you are in search of some resolutions for this New Year, here are a few to consider:
1. It's an important election year. Choose your candidates wisely. If your candidate is willing to cheat Just A Little Bit, break the rules Just a Little Bit, that's how they will be as elected officials. VET. VET. VET any and all candidates you are considering supporting.
2. Vetting isn't easy. Look behind the curtain. Candidates put their best face forward to get elected. If something doesn't ring true, do extra checking. The internet provides a wealth of resources to check out candidates: donation records, court records, newspaper articles. Talk to activists in that candidate's district. Get feedback from several people who have personal knowledge of the facts. Just do it!
3. Don't be too quick to get on board with the "nice guy/gal." They may make great friends and neighbors but not necessarily good lawmakers. It's a fine line between being a good candidate, able to play successfully in the political arena, and being an honest person who can withstand the pressures of elected office without going off the rails. Look for good people with both empathy and a large measure of spine!
4. Don't believe the rumors you hear. How easy it is in this day of constant emails to just believe what you get from a friend. Example: when Common Core survived it's first vote in our Legislature, I asked some Representatives why they voted "Yes." Answer: My seat mate/office mate/ fellow District Representative said it was OK and was voting for it, so I voted for it." We see how well that turned out! Drill down, go straight to the candidate/issue the rumors are about, get your own answers. To quote Paul Harvey, get "the rest of the story" because there is always more that is not revealed in rumors. And educate your lawmakers in your district. They can't know everything about the myriad of issues they face during a session. That's our job as voters.
5. Be proactive! The best lawmakers are those who need to be reluctantly drafted. Every lawmaker who was ever elected was just an ordinary activist before they got elected and were sucked into the system. You can be sure of this: the bad guys are out there already selecting who you will vote for! DON'T stand for it. Gather your fellow conservatives together and interview potential candidates who are likely to be found in your own district, at your Legislative District meetings, tea party meetings, church groups.
6. Stay in touch with whomever gets elected. Be the thorn under their saddle! Remember, the instant a candidate becomes a lawmaker, he/she automatically grows ear plugs to tune you out. Screaming at your elected official activates those ear plugs! Be persistent and measured.
7. And finally, remember who the enemy is!!! Let me repeat: remember who the enemy is! The enemy is NOT your fellow activist who prefers a different candidate than you do. It's not the candidate that you don't warm up to, no matter how bad you think they are. Assemble your research on your favorite candidate and make your case. Be persuasive, not obnoxious and demanding. Don't do the opposition's research for them by slinging mud, repeating rumors, bashing others on your own side. Let the other side do their own work!!
The one thing we hear every election season is "the better of two evils is still evil." OK, then take seriously this business of electing candidates and follow steps 1-7 above. It's YOUR job, OUR job, to draft better candidates so we don't have to always vote for the better of two evils. And always, there just will not be a good candidate in some races. I have written in a candidate's name when I can't bring myself to vote for those printed on the ballot. Some say it's a wasted vote. It's not! A vote is a vote. Just be prepared to face the consequences of your decision.
Votes matter. If you vote for a bad Republican, and that Republican hands the Congressional or Legislative body to the Republicans to control, you voted right. Like it or not, for now, we are a two party system and nothing we can do will change that in the foreseeable future. Always look down the road to the big picture.
And always remember this: the PRIMARY is the most important election!!!
So, everyone have a productive New Year. Keep the faith because we are seeing the chinks in the armor of the opposition. Take advantage of every opportunity to make a change for the better. Get moving! Be smart.
And remember, God is in control. We are just His tools to do the work here on earth.
The AFA Team