Think smart in elections

The first of the year should be, by my estimation, the unofficial kickoff of this election season.

Things have already begun to heat up with LoGB wannabes phoning the radio talk shows with increasing regularity and trying their darnedest to pen coherent 350 words or less commentary in our various metropolitans.

Now, the roundup of usual suspects will begin to declare their willingness to stand and if elected serve the good people of these Cayman Islands, district party slates will emerge, high minded manifestos will appear in full page splendor, public meetings scheduled, fanciful accusations made against opponents, politricks commenced, mudslinging engaged in, yada, yada, yada.

I know what you are thinking, ‘Gosh, I can’t wait for our political high-jinks to get going in earnest, especially after nearly two years of continuous US presidential campaigning. It never gets old.’

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the puppy show surrounding general elections, but it is also wise not to lose sight of the serious business of choosing those who will run things for the next four years.

I’ve made a few notes for myself that I’ll share with you, the good reader, to reference every so often during the next few months that I hope will help with the weighty decisions on Election Day.

The first thing to determine, is my candidate smarter than a 5th grader? As one may know from watching the popular US TV show hosted by Jeff Foxworthy, primary school children are pretty darn smart these days despite the laments of the older generation to the contrary.

And a 5th grade education is, I admit, setting the bar very high for aspiring politicians, 3rd grade may be more realistic. Of course, intelligence is a double edge sword as a too wily, sly or tricky candidate is never a good choice either.

The second thing, get a hold of your candidate’s rap sheet. I realise that not all politicians have criminal records, it just seems that way. I myself strike from consideration any candidate that has become overly familiar with the dock of the Law Courts. But I do respect those charitable electors who choose to forgive errors in judgment once or twice or whatever. I would respectfully recommend to all voters however that you not seriously consider a candidate who is currently incarcerated.

It is also not a bad idea to try to determine whether your candidate has any skills that may come in handy when running government. This doesn’t include the ordinary political aptitude for blowing hot air, deflecting criticism, avoiding responsibility, and pointing fingers.

A candidate that has had a successful career in business or as a private sector professional making an honest living undoubtedly brings rare and invaluable skills to the halls of parliament. There is some question in my mind at least, whether or not a career in politics alone can seriously be considered an honest living.

I tend to avoid candidates that refer to himself or herself in the plural or third person. I admit these are rather subjective criteria that may not truly reflect any given candidate’s competence or suitability for public office. Its just when one does speak in that manner it gives me the creeps.

There are lots of other things to consider this election year and Greg McTaggart will jot them down and share them with Compass readers as we think of them.

Gregory S. McTaggart