an open letter to Mitt and Barack (or, why local elections matter more)

Dear Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney,

Sorry, Barack. Sorry, Mitt. You’re old news.

I voted for one of you about two weeks ago, when I cast my absentee ballot. I showed up and did my civic duty. You both were at the top of my ballot and I made an educated vote for one of you and moved my caboose along. Because, frankly, I had bigger fish to fry.

Yes, you matter. You both matter. The macro issues that one of you will decide for the next four years matter. The teams you’ll put in place to tackle those issues matter. The advisers you’ll pick, the stances you’ll take, the leadership you’ll provide . . . yes, it matters. Fine.

But the people who matter more to my community, the people who really make this place worth living in, are further down the ballot.

It was a privilege to cast my ballot for local representatives, school board folks, city leaders and state leaders. Research, sweet research, helped me along. I perused candidates’ blogs, looked at their backgrounds, their insights, their experiences.

For me, my community is Kansas City, Missouri, and my heart is behind it. I think this city is at a precious crossroads and we’re moving full-speed ahead and getting stronger. So we need leaders who will bolster it forward.

And it wasn’t exact or scientific, but post-research, I thought about how those candidates would impact me, people different from me and the community holistically. Kiddos, the elderly, my neighbors in wealthier neighborhoods and my neighbors in less well-off areas too . . . what would a candidate do for each of these groups? I considered candidates’ previous records, if they were in public office before. Where they gave their spare time mattered too — volunteering and giving time to worthy causes weights heavy in my book.

Anyway, Barack and Mitt, I’ve got to hand it to you both. Really. Although you have different methodologies and ideologies, you both seem to truly want what you think is best for America. And cheers to that. You both signed up for an unbelievably trying job, in trying times, and that shows gumption.

But at the end of the day, when the polling places close and the results trickle in, I’ll be more interested in local outcomes. Making an impact on the local level requires the right blend of enthusiasm and courage, and I can’t wait to walk alongside the next set of leaders locally.

These are my neighbors, after all, and my community’s future.

Anyway, much love,

Friends, this isn’t the first just-go-vote message you’ve heard, and it won’t be the last. The past few months (years?) have left us politically inundated and overstimulated.  So it makes sense that we might mentally check out. I encourage you, though, to do research locally. Go out, cast your vote, take your stand, be a donkey or an elephant or whatever. But do your research. To do your research is to love your community, and that’s something we can all stand behind.

(photo via)

linking up here, here and here today.

3 thoughts on “an open letter to Mitt and Barack (or, why local elections matter more)

  1. Hi Sarah,
    You’re so right. There’s much hoopla over the presidential election, and rightly so. But the local level is where the bulk of the work gets done, and it’s important not only to vote but to work to make our communities stronger. Great post!
    Linking up from SDG,
    Susan in VA

  2. Totally right Sarah! Way to go! Just voted on my way to work. It was amazing how many local politicians were running unopposed here — I guess that’s Chicago politics for you. But I still researched! I didn’t even mind standing in a fairly long line, because you know what, that means that people are taking part in something big for our country and community! Vote!

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