My Letter to Candidates: Pick Your Battles Wisely

Several nights ago, I attended the second political meet and greet the candidate I’ve ever gone to.  It’s pretty interesting to see and hear why people are running and their stories.  I’ve also come to the realization of why the candidates I choose don’t get into the elected seat.

The latest issue that is bringing new faces into the races is that social issue of gay marriage. Many people are up in arms about it and are ready to fight it because of their beliefs.  As I see this issue from a legal standpoint, it really is about civil rights of a group of people.  It’s not about what my god said or what your god said, it’s about the rights of people to be recognized as such under the law.  If your religion chooses to discriminate against it, so be it.  There’s a good reason why religion and politics don’t mix and it shouldn’t.

As a leader of people, we have to have some ability to tolerate our differences on a variety of issues.  If we stay hard lined to one side, we only alienate people who aren’t like us.  Not everyone is Christian and share the same beliefs and nor should they.  That’s the beauty of the United States where we are free to choose our own beliefs as it is our right.  Remember that this is about beliefs or an ideology and not evidence based.

We as humans can’t stand around pointing at each other saying, “I don’t like what you’re doing because my church said so.”  Is that what a loving God would tell us to do?  I don’t think so.  I always thought that God encompassed us all, regardless of our differences.  That’s how my belief in God is.  Then what about the people who share the same values but don’t believe in god?  Where does that put them?

Recall the story of Matthew Sheppard, the young gay man who was killed and tortured for being who he was.  Being one sided and perpetuating it causes more hatred and ill will towards people who are different.  It’s doesn’t change anything really other than that we are all people.   I refused to stand for people who support this kind of behavior.  We all are discriminatory whether or not we will admit it or not.  If you act upon this kind of discrimination illegally, then that is the problem.

I feel that when a candidate is too much on one side, they lose the ability to capture the voters who don’t share their beliefs.  They may share values but the extreme leaning to only one side an an issue loses the moderate vote.  If a person really wants to get into office, I feel that they need to be more inclusive and moderate about the issues to be successful.  It may be hard and contradict their own beliefs but isn’t that the sign of a good leader that many people can relate to better and trust?  You bet.

As I think further about elected office, I have to focus more on what their role really is.  Is the role of the elected person to fix all of the social ills of the world?  Partially yes, but the majority of the responsibilities falls under looking at the whole scope of their job description.  The politician has to work on maintaining the infrastructures of our state to keep up the standards of service for the taxpaying public.

Instead of spending lots of time  trying to fight what is already there, what about fixing the services that is provided to all citizens?  How about helping the farmers?  What about the obvious problems like homelessness and crime?  What about fixing our roads and traffic issues?  What about the educational system? These are the issues that affect us each and everyday that our leaders should be focusing on from my point of view.

Part of good problem solving comes from recognizing what’s there to begin with.  Failing to recognize that and going head on to try and change it will only be hit with resistance and failure in many cases.  Trying to go after things that you really can change might be the better and more effective route to success as an elected official.

Instead of focusing on the divisive issues like gay marriage and Pono choices, why not focus on things that will help all Hawaii people?  What about making it more affordable here?  How can we clean up the streets in Waikiki and Honolulu? Why are our kids not getting educated and prepared for the workforce or university?  Where’s the efforts to help grow our ag industries?

The biggest question we should be asking our leaders is how are you going to help us as as a society move forward?  That’s the answer I’d like to know first and foremost on where candidates stand.

Leaders should not be divisive as it leads us down dangerous paths and create permanent scars.  There is not always room for, “My way or the highway attitude.”  Choosing this kind of stance makes candidates look just like anti-GMO activists who can only see black and white.

We have enough troubles in our society, why not prioritize which ones will impact the most people?  Pick your battles wisely, or create another needless battle.





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