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In Your Opinion: Vote For The Democratic Ticket

By Michael D. Purzycki, Somerset

Politics and government are serious subjects. We Americans seem to have forgotten that, especially over the last two years. Politics has become little more than entertainment for us, and politicians have become all too easy to dismiss as comical. But the words and actions of our leaders have serious, real-world consequences, and so do the votes we as citizens cast.

On Tuesday, November 8, we have an important choice to make. We can choose a greedy, pompous, unprincipled thug to lead us for the next four years. Or we can choose a woman who, whatever her faults, is truly committed to public service, who takes government and governing seriously. It’s up to us.

Donald Trump talks glibly about building a wall on our southern border, starting costly trade wars, extorting or abandoning long-time allies, promoting torture, rolling back financial regulations, and banning all adherents of a specific religion from the United States. He calls for reckless tax cuts – mostly benefitting his fellow rich people – and pays no attention to the details of public policy. His election would be a national embarrassment.

Hillary Clinton, much to her credit, sweats the small details of policy, because the details matter a lot. If we want to upgrade our nation’s infrastructure, make college more affordable, and guarantee universal preschool and paid family leave – all priorities worth investing in – it matters whether we are willing to pay for them with tax dollars, or whether we’d rather fund them with more debt. Clinton and her team deserve respect for doing the math on worthwhile public investments.

The presidency isn’t the only office on the ballot. As long as the Republican Party is led by Donald Trump, it deserves taking down a notch. For too long, Republican leaders have allowed anti-government extremists to dominate their party, standing idly by as the far right has condemned everything President Obama has proposed merely because President Obama has proposed it. We must push back against this attitude, and the party it has taken hold of. Democrats Bonnie Watson Coleman and Doug Singleterry deserve our vote, respectively, for U.S. Representative and Somerset County Freeholder.

Franklin Township’s own Darrin Russo, a 30-year veteran of our town’s police department, is the Democratic candidate for county Sheriff, and he deserves our support. The Franklin Reporter & Advocate named him Man of the Year in 2015, with good reason. If you haven’t read the paper’s description of his actions, I highly recommend it – his cool head and quick thinking may very well have saved Franklin from becoming the next Ferguson. We could use a man like him in our government.

Politics doesn’t have to be exciting. As much as the media loves to hype things up, most Americans probably couldn’t care less about polling data or wardrobe choices. They’d rather hear about what a candidate actually wants to do for the country, so they can make informed decisions when they cast their votes.

And a political party doesn’t have to serve as a tribe or a cult. I’m a Democrat, but there are quite a few issues where I part company with Democratic partisans – free trade, charter schools, affirmative action – and occasionally I do actually lean to the right. The fact that we’re Americans outweighs everything else, and it’s dangerous to treat politics as a place for self-indulgence, as a place to shout and condemn and feel morally superior to others. In the long term, the country only suffers, as do its citizens.

Hopefully, when this election is over, we will all begin to treat politics and government with the serious attitudes they deserve. We owe it to ourselves, to each other, and to the world, to treating them like a joke.

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