Political Politeness, Part 3

Political Politeness, Part 3

Today, locally, begins our city council race, among other races in our county. This can be a time of tension, though I think it could be used as a time of learning. So, to continue our political politeness series seems quite appropriate on the first day of early voting.

So behaviors, such as wearing a candidate’s shirt or pin to the polls, are actually illegal and could get you removed from the voting area. Other behaviors, such as setting up just outside the legal boundaries, simply are in bad taste. Garnering support for yourself or your candidate shouldn’t take place only the days of early voting and Election Day. It should have been an effort all along. I will say with honesty, sometimes we can lose a race for ourselves or others based on our actions. That is why etiquette and manners are so vital in the political arena.

Here are a few dos and don’ts for going to the polls.

DON’T:

Break the law by campaigning at the polls.

Reduce people to their political party. You don’t have to like a certain political party to respect someone as a human.

Tell people for whom you voted unsolicited. I strongly discourage political talk, but it is especially uncouth when it is unwanted.

Forget to vote. If you have done your research and plan to vote, make sure you actually go to the polls.

DO:

Remain calm and polite. The volunteers are doing their best with limited training. They will need to verify you are who you say you are.

Your research ahead of time. I have little respect for voting just to vote. This can often do much more harm than good.

Encourage others to voting in an informed matter, but always keep in mind: their opinion is no better or worse than yours.

Remember candidates and their supporters are human beings.

Remember the Golden Rule.

For everyone running for an office, I wish you a lot of luck. Regardless of the election outcome, I hope you find time to volunteer for your community. It needs you.

For everyone voting, I hope you put a lot of thought into your vote. Remember the candidates are not perfect, and support the winning candidate, regardless. We cannot move forward by cutting our nose to spite our face.

 

Election Day Etiquette, Part 1

Y’all. Today is the day. It’s the day we find out who will be our leader of the United States of America for the next four years. However, it’s also the day we find out who will serve us locally in our states and in our communities.

One of my other non-paying jobs is mayor of a medium-sized town. I have had an interest in politics since I was fairly young. Honestly, my love of politics and etiquette was established around the same time. While the two may seem to have nothing in common, I don’t just chalk it up to being a Gemini (or being more Paris than Rory….Lorelai trumps them both). They should have plenty in common, such as exhibiting respect for others, listening to listen and not just respond, being willing to help others, etc. If they don’t, well, it may be time for new leaders.

On my personal social media outlets, I do not post about politics, other than general reminders, such as where to vote if one so chooses to do so. I don’t post for whom they should vote. That’s up to them. It also is against etiquette to do so. Let me be blunt for a moment. No meme, quote or rant on Facebook will EVER change a person’s vote choice. It simply and truly will not.

It has always been considered rude to talk about politics and religion, not because we shouldn’t have deep conversations, but because more of the time these “conversations” quickly digress to arguments. The reason someone is passionately Republican may not be an issue for someone passionately Democrat. Also, there are plenty of parties out there. 🙂

More often than not, I find that people aren’t diehard for their candidate or even party. They are diehard about one or two specific issues that really hit home for them. It’s a very personal choice. Life decisions led that person to his or her choice, and one conversation is extremely unlikely to sway them from said decision. It can, however, sway them from friendships.

So, today, Election Day, I ask you – is it worth it? It being “right” more important than being kind? If so, we’ve all already lost. I would encourage you today to vote – the only avenue your voice is truly heard. However, we can all be kind to others, regardless of their political affiliation. In this era of openness and political correctness, maybe being silent isn’t such a bad thing. After all, there are surely more interesting facts about a person than for whom they are voting.

Happy Election Day. Tomorrow, regardless of the outcome, the sun will rise. I’ll see you then.

Election Etiquette

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Some of you may know that I am involved in local politics, currently serving as my town’s mayor. I recently ran for re-election to our city council and won. While I won by more than 2/3 of the vote, the campaign season was not easy for my family or myself. It was hard to remain quiet while slander and lies were being thrown from the opposing side. However, I stayed above the fray, and I’m proud to have done so. This all lead to my hesitation to write this post. As we enter a much larger election cycle, I feel this post is now timely and appropriate. Additionally, many may not understand campaign etiquette, so it needs to be said.

During a campaign, etiquette dictates that only facts are used – not hearsay, assumptions or anything else not based on facts. Additionally, the campaign should stick to issues at hand. There are enough true issues without bringing up a candidate’s family or personal appearance. To be quite honest, it you have to rely on slander or bullying to win, you are part of the demise of the American government.

Politics are only effective when people vote. So, please do so! When you are at the polls, etiquette dictates that you are quiet and respectful of other voters, not rushing them or waiting too closely to the person casting their ballot. As a candidate, there are laws legally enforcing your proximity to the polling place. However, out of courtesy for the voters, proper etiquette would dictate you not post camp right at the border, either.

If you are running for a position, no matter your choice of campaigning, you should never badger your potential constituents. Yes, absolutely get your name out there. But try to get to know the people because you genuinely care – not because they are a means to an end. Likewise, understand that your credibility will be shot in a “do as I say, not as I do” situation. Do you want people to vote? VOTE! And do so in times you’re not up for election.

Finally, regarding the results from the election day, it is up to the losing candidate(s) to reach out to the winning candidate(s). I’m making this plural in the event of a potential run-off election. It is NOT the responsibility of the winning candidate(s) to reach out to the losing candidate(s). In fact, it is considered pompous of the winning candidate(s) to do so. It will come across as “rubbing it in.”

So, now that election etiquette is out there on a small level, I hope to see it utilized more frequently in both national and local elections. At the end of the day, our integrity is what we must live with.

As always, thank you for reading! Thank you to the three readers who specifically asked me to write on this subject. I agree it is needed.