I’m bracing myself, trying to mentally prepare for the onslaught of nastiness that’s about to suck the joy out of watching fall football (or anything else) on TV. Election Day is coming soon, and as someone deeply interested in politics, it’s an exciting, important time. But, I also regret the distasteful part of the process that’s about to arrive. Commercial after commercial after commercial telling me why I should hate candidate so-and-so who will single handedly wreck the economy, foster global injustice and probably make my hair fall out. Sigh.
It’s a sad truth that negative political advertising works, at least according to many psychologists, strategists and, of course, advertising salespersons. It may indeed be an effective way to get your candidate elected. Fortunately, it’s not the only way.
In Farm Bureau, we make politics personal. In a good way. One of our most important functions is putting members face-to-face with candidates. Each election cycle, groups of Farm Bureau members sit down with potential office holders, listen to their thoughts, ask them questions and evaluate their character and capacity to do the job. Our members then let fellow members know what they learned. Further, we help members help the candidates they support and stay engaged with the folks they help elect. Our grassroots approach is the polar opposite of today’s big data, big budget politics. We’re proud of that. And we’re proud that our way works. In the last general election, 96 percent of the candidates who received Farm Bureau’s approval won their races. That’s a pretty strong endorsement of the way we choose to do politics.
Of course, you’re welcome to be part of this process. In the meantime, take advantage of our other resources. Check out the Election Guide that came in the bag with this month’s Our Ohio for information about the candidates including Ohio’s Supreme Court. Also, our political action committee website FarmVotesMatter.org has information and tips on how you can be engaged, and our public affairs radio show Town Hall Ohio is hosting the candidates for statewide office and the U.S. Senate, so you can hear directly from them. I think you’ll find these tools to be of some value as you make important choices.
For me, voting is both a responsibility and a privilege. I registered the moment I turned 18. I’ve volunteered as a precinct worker. When my kids were younger, I took them along to the polls hoping to instill an appreciation for the opportunity. And while I’m glad Ohioans have options to vote early or absentee, I’m a traditionalist, and will be with friends and neighbors at the polls come Nov. 6.
I encourage you, too, to take advantage of this great freedom. Ignore the sinister soundtracks and unflattering photos splattered across your screens. Instead, study the candidates and issues, find the folks who reflect your values, then give them your vote.