This question comes from an anonymous source:
What do you think about the upcoming elections? What is your criteria for a good governor?
Admittedly, we haven't been keeping up on politics as much this year. I feel like I have failed in my duties as a citizen, but the campaigning has been so nasty this year it's easier for me to tune it out than to listen.
So, to answer your question, we have a guest columnist today. My husband Carlin (who is also an engineer, hence the very technical response), makes a point to keep up on this stuff.
Carlin, take it away...
Election season. Ah, election season, when all the politicians try to convince you that words speak louder than actions. I have been able to vote now for 10 years and most of the time try to keep myself informed, but rarely pick sides early on. I'm not an 'activist' or tout any single political 'agenda'. I think there are merits and pitfalls to both (all) sides of the aisle. This year, 2010, however something changed. I think it's changed for a lot of people. The low-level hum of the political machine leading our nation in Washington has slowly grown to an obnoxious, tumultuous noise in every school, office and home. Something, in my view, happened to re-ignite the fervor/anger/passion of us normally 'passive' citizens. Some people point to one or two single things, like so called 'Obamacare' or the Bank Bailouts in late 2008/early 2009. But I think it's more complicated. There are so many things nation wide that points to the slow deterioration of the Bill of Rights. Judges ruling against our ability to photograph police action. Rulings that covert GPS tracking does not require a warrant. Our freedom of speech has been curtailed to 'as long as it doesn't offend me (and my lawyer)'. The adage "I disagree with you, but will fight to the death for your right to say it" has been amended to "I will fight to the death so you can not say it". All these and more are a catalyst that will ultimately enslave this nation as a Nanny-State, or, conversely lead to a revolution more wide-spread and violent than the one in the 1770s.
The most interesting facet of the elections tomorrow is to see whether or not the voting people give credence to the Tea Party's endorsements/rhetoric, either establishing them with real political power, or writing them off as a one-hit wonder. Again, I understand a lot of frustrations that the Tea Party gives a voice to, and think some things they say are a bit off. Some will mock those frustrations, when they run counter to their agenda, and others will fight for them. That's the wonderful thing about this Country though. We have these powers and freedoms as a people to do so. I think too many of us, including myself, were caught being apathetic toward the policies and laws being passed and rulings being made. We think "Well there are checks and balances in the government and it all evens out". But zoom out for a minute. Get a nation-wide view. Who checks and balances the government itself? What entity has the power to fire the House of Representatives every 2 years, the President every 4 years and the entire Senate every 6 years? Who keeps the metric system down? We do! Sorry got carried away with a Simpsons reference, but my point stands. When the people are apathetic and don't research and get involved to educate themselves on a little politics and social theory, the long arm of the law becomes longer and longer and longer. Power is intoxicating and sometimes our leaders get drunk. I think the elections and ballots is the true spine of this Nation and serve to balance (or disrupt) an otherwise run-away train of lawmakers.
A good Governor for any state or province largely depends on the individuals' personal requirements. Do you want the Governor to enforce XYZ law? Do you want him or her to support XYZ agenda? But since you asked me for my criteria for a good Governor, here:
•Engineering degree (critical thinking is required, with a heavy emphasis on facts).
•Police/military background. Knows what he or she is doing when giving orders and if those orders are feasible, adds 'executive' experience.
•Be a parent. The two Oklahoma gubernatorial candidates had a little spat over this, and yes, Mary Fallin, it was a dirty fight to pick, but I think the underlying issue is the elephant in the room. Nothing changes your focus, alters your world, or gets your head out of the clouds quite like having someone so completely helpless literally dropped into your lap. You think twice about pulling that trigger, you think twice about spending that frivolous dollar. Most leaders do have children, some don't, but I think all would be served to treat our state's budget like the family budget and the military like their own kids.
•When something goes wrong on his/her watch and it's his/her fault, have the freaking guts to get on TV and apologize whole-heartedly and unequivocally. Someone I know told me "Chivalry for the ages is accepting more blame than is yours and handing out more credit than is due."
Aubrey again, just to add one last thought. I have found that this year I am putting so-called "logic" to the side. Too many politicians who promise one thing and then do another, am I really surprised? No. But I've come to realize that what's more important to me right now is that I vote with the party who best represents my ideals and morals. This country was founded on religious principles and I best stick with said principles when voting.
Remember, tomorrow, November 2, is the big election day. Get out there and vote, voting one way or another is better than being apathetic and doing nothing at all.