Roswell Needs Your Vote
March 10, 2017, by Tai Anderson
During the Presidential election, Facebook became a bit of tumultuous place. Our social networks filled with heated debate, links to news (real or otherwise), and comments sections filled with arguments that sometimes took their virtual toll on very real relationships. In many of our families, our passion for/against our preferred, or better stated, less detested, candidate spilled over into exchanges that so inflamed tensions, many families struggled with the idea of even gathering together for the annual Thanksgiving feast.
However, one unifying post common to all our feeds was that we as ordinary voters, and the occasional celebrity, posted photos of our “I voted” stickers, usually free of any last-minute campaigning efforts.
The general spirit communicated was that, regardless of our political choice, we as Americans had a sacred privilege in the ability to cast our vote in a process that would determine our country’s next occupier of the Oval Office. Such photos often included homages to those that have fought and died to secure our right to vote and a general acknowledgment that, even if we loathe the choices, we have a moral obligation to “do our part.”
I 100% agree with that sentiment.
Even if such patriotic arguments have little sway in motivating you to vote, the push over the top is the oft-used expression, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.” SOLD!
For some reason, this shared patriotism only sweeps our communities during national elections. For example, Roswell, GA is currently participating in a special election to fill a seat on our City Council. Our City Council makes decisions that have a direct impact on our lives. Their choices impact the funding of our parks, the density of our developments, and the transportation projects that will help to keep our roads drivable. They impact our public art projects, the support of our fire departments and police departments, and even our ability to provide sidewalks and streetlights in our neighborhoods.
Sadly, the vast majority of us will not inform ourselves about the different candidates or take the less than 5 minutes out of our day to have our voices be counted. The expected voter turnout is only 2-3% of eligible voters. Therefore despite our patriotic rallying cry in the Presidential election, we will abdicate our judgment of leadership for our city to the few who bother to show up and vote. Does that sound patriotic to you?
As with the national election, I’m hesitant to try and sway my friends and neighbors one way or the other. I try and avoid arguments of right and left and focus instead on arguments of right and wrong. However, I wanted to share with you some things I’ve learned being more engaged in our local politics, especially as it pertains to this upcoming election. There is something wrong going on about which I can't be silent.
It’s gotten nasty, and not in a “tit-for-tat” national campaign war of attrition kind of way. Rather, one singular campaign has engaged in a campaign of untruth, smearing, and maligning other candidates. Personal attacks against one of the candidates in the race, Tracy Hanley, got so bad, that for the sake of her children’s well-being, she chose to step down from consideration.
Additionally, the purposeful spreading of malicious rumors and even campaign pieces filled with half-truths and untruths have been a staple of the “One Roswell Now” campaign. As the author of the “One Roswell” blog, it’s sad to see a candidate use a banner that should call our citizenry to unity as a cover for a campaign built on division; East vs. West, South Vs. North, Truth Vs. Fiction.
Here's the good news: You have solid, honorable choices in this campaign. I’ll give it to you straight from my take of the other 3 candidates running for the open seat.
Shelley Sears reminds me of my mom. I love my mom. She is kind. She seems to really care about people and she would apply a calming force to City Council. I don’t know Shelley, but I think I would enjoy having a glass of wine with her, or at least a nice glass of herbal tea. She feels approachable.
Shawn Wright is a student of leadership. He speaks the leadership vocabulary of Dr. Stephen Covey. He is a man of faith, values diversity, and has proven his commitment to our community with his time as a baseball coach. He is not as directly experienced as others who have been involved with City Council for years. However, I believe he would bring measured judgment, the willingness to compromise (That’s a good thing!), and a style best described as “servant leadership.” I believe he would listen to and empower our city employees to deploy their expertise with sound guidance.
Marie Willsey is a quiet, poised, informed, and experienced choice. Being from the east side of Roswell, she is more intimately informed with the unique challenges the east side is currently facing. However, she brings a unifying spirit and doesn't have a chip on her shoulder toward overdue projects for Roswell as a whole, like the City Green. She has direct experience with our city government and has the support of the most sensible, involved, and informed people in our community. Don't let her small stature and quiet demeanor fool you. She is tough!
So, there you have it. I hope some of that information helps you make your choice, or at least stirs in you the desire to participate in our local politics. Roswell Needs Your Vote. The outcome of your vote will have direct impact on your life, and hey, it gives you one more opportunity to post that nice Georgia Peach sticker on your Facebook feed.