1.7.10 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
Comments: 0

SteveBlanchardHeadshotAs with the beginning of every new year, I’m filled with optimism and hope. Last year was rough but we made some amazing gains in LGBT politics. True, marriage equality took a beating overall, but shortly after midnight on Jan. 1, 2010, gay and lesbian couples in New Hampshire began legally tying the knot.

Today we have more LGBTs in positions of power than ever before, thanks in part to the Obama administration. The president’s appointment of several members of our community to high-ranking positions was unheard of just two short years ago; and gay, lesbian and transgender individuals won elections across the country in 2009.

I saw 2009 as the “year of change,” but many don’t think we’ve changed enough. Even the more socially conservative among us are wanting something different—not a reversion back to the way things were, but a change for a better future.

I received an interesting e-mail from my mother a few days before Christmas. At first glance I thought it was just another of her forwarded chain mails detailing the atrocities of the Obama administration, the anti-Christian actions of some television network, or the claims by a radio host that some senator from who-knows-where has started a movement to ban the use of English in public places.

In other words, I thought it was another ridiculous, forwarded letter to which I would painstakingly respond after researching it to inform every recipient about the plethora of misinformation contained within.

But this one was different. You may have seen it too. In this one, the author, who is not identified, suggests that to “reclaim” our country and to truly put it back in the hands of “We the People,” we must vote out every single incumbent up for re-election. So, if you normally vote Democrat and a Democrat is up for his or her seat in the Senate, vote for the Republican newcomer. Same goes if you usually vote Republican and a new Democrat is challenging the incumbent’s seat.

The logic behind this voting tactic is that by voting for the new folks, we will get new blood in our government. New governing officials means lobbyists won’t have the strong grip they have now and the new representation of the people will not be enticed to make decisions based on influences that line their own pockets or serve their own purposes.

For those of us who pay attention to politics and who get frustrated at ongoing party-line votes, this might seem like a great way to finally stop the stupid decisions made by our representatives. It would also prevent cable news networks from brain-washing viewers based solely on a conservative or liberal agenda or by party affiliation.

For once I could say I wouldn’t have to correct an e-mail forwarded by my mother.

Since no “facts” were reported in the e-mail, I didn’t respond in any way. But upon closer examination, I’m not so sure this is the solution to our country’s problems.

Voting for a person simply because he or she is the new candidate isn’t smart voting. If a candidate promises to use puppies as piñatas, ban St. Patrick’s Day and require a limitation on how many children I can father, I’m probably not going to vote for him or her. I don’t care if the incumbent is “old blood.”

I use the same line of thinking when it comes to voting by party lines. I don’t simply look for a D or an R after a candidate’s name on the ballot. I want to know what that candidate stands for and what he or she will do to improve life for me, my family and my neighborhood.
I’m not against getting new blood into our political arena. I just want to make sure that new blood knows what it’s doing.

So, as the political ads begin flooding our televisions, newspapers and internet searches, keep in mind that in order to make 2010 a positive year for LGBTs, we must elect the right people, not just the new people.

Happy New Year.

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