Just one more remark about staying home on election day.
If there is one thing that will drag me out to the polling station, it is admiration for the diligence with which local news media are striving to inform me about our candidates and their positions.
A special mention is due here to my local newspaper, Suffolk Life.
As well as good informative news stories on strictly local races for things like County Clerk and Town Councillor, Suffolk Life’s staff have put hundreds of hours work into preparing lengthy questionnaires for all candidates for federal and state offices. The federal questionnaire ( i.e. for candidates for U.S. Congress and U.S. Senate) has 133 questions under 11 headings:
TAXES & SPENDING (13 questions)
SOCIAL SECURITY/MEDICARE/HEALTH CARE/SENIORS (21)
LABOR & EMPLOYMENT (4)
GENERAL (10–mainly local issues)
FOREIGN POLICY (18)
ABORTION/LIFE ISSUES (8)
CAMPAIGN REFORM (5)
TORT REFORM (6)
The state questionnaire (i.e. for candidates for Governor, State Senate, and State Assembly) has 117 questions under 8 headings:
GENERAL (27 questions, largely NY state local)
LAW & ORDER (15)
LONG ISLAND ISSUES (13)
TAXPAYERS’ CONCERNS (9)
ENERGY & THE ENVIRONMENT (12)
HEALTH & WELFARE (13)
Candidates may only answer “Yes” or “No” to each question. Questions ranged in moment from “Should [NY] state withhold funding from the Long Island Railroad until it agrees to provide more commuter parking?” to “Would you vote for going to war with North Korea to eliminate its nuclear capabilities?”
To their everlasting shame, neither of my two candidates for U.S. Senate responded to the Suffolk Life questionnaire. Both House candidates did, as did all but one of the 10 candidates for state office, the defaulter being Eliot Spitzer.
This is real democracy, democracy as it should be played. If you see me in a voting booth Nov. 7 I’ll have been driven there by shame at the thought of letting all that hard work go to waste.