As I watch the political candidates, I notice the electioneering is near totally centered on money issues. I presume the candidates believe the adage that “people vote their pocketbooks” and that is often true. At the Hewlett-Woodmere street fair I heard an elderly woman verify that was her only consideration. Money being her only consideration is bad enough, but her statement indicated that was the only fact at issue that she knew about. The candidates’ potential constituents seem only interested in paying less tax. That is sad!
I feel there are many other things that politicians affect that are important to our democracy and to our quality of life. For one, bipartisanship served us well throughout our history by insuring moderation and thus mostly resulting in better laws. How about our schools that are sinking lower every year? Our poorly tended parks also need attention. Our roads are like they are in a poor and sparsely populated county. I must wait an hour after eating before leaving home because the roads are so wavy. We have questionable clean swimming and drinking water. Saying our power system is not reliable is coining the understatement of the year. I can’t mention all the issues important to our quality of life nor can I think of them all, but I have not heard a word about these issues in any political ad.
It is rare in the Five Towns that people are wanting for food, clothing and shelter. As a matter of fact, nearly all of us are not wanting for the luxury of creature-comforts. That is true of most of our county and beyond. I realize some people have difficulty feeding, housing, and clothing their families. However, the vast majority of Nassau voters are not wanting for those basic needs. Yet money is what resonates with the voters.
I don’t blame the politicians. It’s their job to learn what their constituents want and give it to them; or at least promise to give it to them. Money is said to be the root of all evil, which is true because it seems to be the only issue people care about. How very sad?
Our country was once different. People were not as comfortable and secure and futures were not as assured. We did not have the social safety nets we have now, but even then people voted for the man (back then only men ran for political office). The man they believed was honest and would work for a better future-a better quality of life-for us and our children by declaring how they propose handling those issues.
Sure, money was and is important but it is not the only thing that should take center stage-that should govern our vote I spent my working career improving business’ and government’s efficiency and saving them money; however, cost reduction through improvement was the goal. Yes, the two work together because most improvements introduce new efficiencies and result in a cost reduction.
Schools are an excellent example? Public education is important to our republic’s future. Our founding fathers knew that. Thomas Jefferson said, “Educate and inform the whole mass of people … they are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.” James Madison added, “Learned Institutions ought to be favorite objects with every free people. They throw light over the public mind which is the best security against crafty and dangerous encroachments on the public liberty.” If I quoted others, they would sound the same. They all say the same thing-public education strengthens the foundation for a free people.
I moved here 53 years ago because District 15 was then synonymous with good schools. Now people are moving away because the schools are poor. Reducing costs can be a noble venture except when the method or motive is not good. The real emphasis should be reduce costs through improvements-by making administration more efficient, instruction more effective, buildings more maintenance free, and transportation better.
Maybe I am paranoid, but an additional ploy seems to be get the school budget low but don’t get it so low that it is defeated and forces the district into an austerity budget. That will end free bus service, etc. for our kids’ in private schools. No one admits it, no one dares say it, but search your soul and you will find the truth there selfish greed.
My kids have been out of these schools for 35 years, but I always support better public schools because it is my (and everyone’s) civic duty. My attitude is nothing to shout about, supporting better and better education is part of everyone’s responsibility in a democracy.
I chose school taxes because it is as nonpartisan as you can get. There are other similar issues. The cost of government is another issue that could benefit from more efficiency. That would decrease taxes, but the objective should be better service at a lower cost. Just reducing costs is simple. Any dummy can do it. Every political party has done it. Simply stop replacing retirees and fire other employees. But that has a down side. That approach may leave some functions fat and others too lean to provide needed and vital services.
I am retired, but Industrial engineers should devise cost reduction efforts not politicians. Engineers should do it because that is what they are trained to do and that is what their business is. Our pocketbooks don’t have to be and should never be our only consideration. Certainly it should not be the only political issue we broadcast to our politicians. We must insist that it is not the only issue.
What will it take to wake the public to less greed and more civic pride, civic duty, and civic responsibility?