The mid-terms are almost in the rearview mirror. We’re on a bit of a campaign respite as we approach the end of the year. So before the hullabaloo starts up again, I’m offering a wish-list for 2023. Maybe politicians, media, and even the rest of us can put these on our list of New Year’s resolutions. These are big goals and a maybe a bit of a reach to achieve. Perhaps that makes it even more important to try.
Stay in your own backyard
Campaign or demonstrate for your own neighborhood school board, your own road commission, your own township representatives, etc. Recently, a man from Texas came to one of my local communities to wreak havoc on a bakery because he didn’t like the clientele. I say, pedal your bakery influence in your own neighborhood and stay out of mine.
Yes, we should extend our involvement to our larger neighborhood when it is, indeed, ours: our state, our country, our world. Still, let my neighbors in Wisconsin figure out their own business without my interference. I know there’s a lot of overlap. For example, Wisconsin’s waterways flow right into and often through Illinois. It can be difficult to discern where my backyard ends and someone else’s begins.
Just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Make funding transparent
It may be legal for corporations and unions to pay for political ads, but I think it’s my right as a citizen to know who’s supporting which candidates. I want to know who’s funding the super-pacs and the political agenda behind the money. I mean, what does “Dogs Against Romney” stand for and who are they? What about “We Love USA Pac”?
As in my first “wish,” I want the “stay in your own backyard” philosophy to apply to funding.
Respect personal space
Let’s stop following people into bathrooms, interrupting private dinners, and demonstrating outside homes. Let’s stop intimidating people by carrying assault weapons to demonstrations or threatening them with lines like, “I know where you live.” Surely we can find some room for civil discourse. Even public figures should be allowed private space.
End media reliance on social media
According to Pew Research, only 8% of Americans have Twitter accounts. Of those, 75% check their accounts less than once a week. So, really, how influential is Twitter? And why do I see a Twitter quote on almost every news broadcast? Maybe because over 30% of the verified Twitter users are journalists and media outlets. It looks like a great big echo chamber, with journalists taking an easy way to get stories.
Make campaigning like applying for a job
End attack ads and require candidates to tell us what they plan to do for us. Really, what other job allows an applicant to attack the other people vying for the position. Can you imagine it? Trevor Noah captured my thoughts on this subject with his humor. Fast forward to 4:40 in the video below and see what I mean.
I’m pretty sure we can all agree that the vitriol is out of hand. Maybe it’s boring, but it’s a whole lot more important to discover what the candidates’ platform is and what they plan to do if they get into office. In the end, that’s what has bearing on my life and my well-being.
I want journalists and news outlets to tell me what really matters. I want candidates to apply for the job by telling us their qualifications and why we should hire them.
So that’s my top 5 wishes for campaign 2023. To paraphrase John Lennon: Maybe you say I’m a dreamer, but I’m sure I’m not the only one.