Thursday, September 30, 2010
Put your Blog Where your Mouth is...
In my enthusiasm to promote the General Election Candidates Forum to be held in Cape St. Claire this Saturday, I waxed poetic about the importance of taking advantage of these opportunities to get up close and personal with our local candidates (See Sept. 27 post - Democracy in Action 10/2 in the Cape) - something about "the survival of our democracy", blah, blah, blah. I echoed the guest list and format for the Forum which was posted on the CSC Public mailing list and then proceeded to comment on the importance of the event and my thoughts on the state of our political system in general. I meant every word of it and have now been held to account - put my blog where my mouth is - by a fellow Annapolis area blogger who follows these things more avidly than do I.
Paul Foer who writes the Annapolis Capital Punishment blog quotes me pretty heavily in his article posted this morning entitled, "Again Broadneck and Cape St. Claire Cut Out Own Arnold Resident from Candidate's Debate". I guess my words lent a voice to his indignation at the "exclusion" of some third party candidates from the Forum this weekend. I was unaware that candidates had been turned away. Apparently his requests for a response from the organizers did not receive a reply, nor did mine.
I don't know that I share his indignation without knowing the other side of the story, but he challenged me to "weigh in" on this, so for what it's worth, it does seem to me that us constituents would benefit from hearing from a wide spectrum of candidates. Why not? We hear a lot about the dissatisfaction with our two major political parties in this country. Is this the time to weed out additional voices, however big a long shot they may be? OK, frankly, there are some that I'd just as soon tune out, and I also know there are significant challenges to hosting such an event, and maybe criteria had to be established to simply handle the logistics. Perhaps the organizers will clarify this now that the question has been raised publicly by Mr. Foer.
I still believe the Forum is an invaluable tool for us voters, and I stand by my endorsement of it. I applaud the organizers for putting the event together and would love to learn more about the planning process and criteria for participation. It may be as simple as, "It's our Forum, and we'll invite who we want to." Or perhaps to draw the front runners, they had to make concessions and had to agree to leave out the small guys. This is the kind of thing that is good to know as we try to make informed decisions. Ultimately, I feel sure they want to serve their communities by providing this venue and would be interested in our feedback.
So what do you Capers and Broadneck Peninsula constituents think? Would you be interested to hear from more than the two major party candidates? Does having third party candidates participating in the Forum stand in the way of expediency and just muddy the waters unnecessarily? Or does their participation raise issues to which the front runners are then forced to respond, giving us even better insight into their positions and ideas? Does the Forum still have value even without the third party candidates? What would you like to see?
OK, need to get back to clearing the #*$&#%* acorns from my driveway drain to keep my garage from flooding again.
(Note to self, stick to posts about puppies, sunrises and sunsets from now on...)