A festive election season and forthright candidates would spark fire under voters.
You would think in a city that’s five months away from a huge election, where among the position up for grabs is the seat of Mayor, there’d be a lot more lively conversations among the citizenry about the dynamic leaders who are earnestly looking to lead Philadelphia in the right direction.
But instead, those I’ve talked to – most notably two City Committeeman who spoke under the conditions of anonymity – are talking about the lackluster roster of candidates, and one of them would consider giving Mayor Nutter another four years if that option were available.
One said if State Senator Anthony Hardy Williams is elected than they will move out if the city. The other said they would vote for Senator Williams, but only to avoid having Ms. Lynne Abraham in the top seat.
These are guys who are fully engaged in the civic process, but their excitement level could be compared to Thanksgiving leftovers served three weeks after the holiday.
Those I’ve spoken to who wouldn’t be considered a “super voter” were surprised to learn that nearly every position in City Hall – from City Commissioner to Mayor –will be game for any individual with enough money and support to campaign.
And to be fair, I would include myself among the Philadelphians who don’t feel the “election spirit” in the air, though my reasoning extends beyond a mediocre listing of politicos.
For starters, based solely on the unsaid and the undone, I think the government takes voters for granted.
The root of this thought lies in the unequal distribution of resources as it relates to engagement, events and activities. For example, the City of Philadelphia spends a great deal of effort and money in November and December: tree lighting, decorations in the courtyard and festive messages … all in attempt to promote the Christmas season and get people to spend money.
But when election time rolls around, there’s no decorations, no concerts or shows in City Hall courtyard – unless organized by the citizenry and approved by the powers that be – and no festive, warm, nonpartisan messages from politicians attempting to get people to the polls.
My frustrations doesn’t just lie in the lack of thrills and frills, I also find most campaigning techniques to be somewhat self-absorbed: look at me, look at what I can do, look at what I did. The community, myself included, are more interested in why candidates care, not who they are, though that’s very important.
What excites people is true service, not timely “show ups.” What will make voters give a hoot is when they see you, the candidate, do it first, particularly when no cameras are around. And really caring about someone or someplace should always show, not just when knocking on random doors asking for signatures.
The only sustainable way to increase voter turnout, in my opinion, is to maximize government and candidate outputs and make election season as festive as when jolly ole St. Nick takes a ride on the El train.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™