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Tip of the Hat, Wag of The Finger

by Dave Zornow

Parents of school-aged kids might think Nyack’s mayoral race is beginning to sound like conversations overheard in the daily carpool. Subjects like current events, history and economics are taking a back seat to “he said, she said” lunchroom squabbles about who is going with whom. There’s been very little talk about the issues or the differences between the candidates.

To borrow a bit from Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert, here’s A Tip of the Hat and a Wag Of The Finger for the candidates and their supporters.

First, a Tip Of The Hat to everyone who has endorsed a candidate or added a comment. The spirited and partisan discussion demonstrates a passion for the process and support for the candidates. Word of mouth and personal endorsements are important considerations when choosing a candidate.

But there’s a Wag Of The Finger reserved for the mayoral candidates. An election season which started discussing serious issues is now one entrée away from becoming a public food fight. Neither candidate has demonstrated any leadership in moving the discussion back to the issues and away from the personalities. This doesn’t bode well for how well each might lead if elected.

Endorsements are the fast food of the election process. Nice for a quick bite, but it doesn’t count as a full meal. Voters who make this their complete diet just end up fat, dumb and angry.

It’s incumbent on the candidates to tell us what they will do when elected. From a strategy standpoint, each candidate owes us an understanding of how they will govern differently from their competitor. And that isn’t happening.

One final wag of the finger to everyone who doesn’t have Tuesday November 3 circled on their calendars.

If you’ve been downtown lately, it’s hard not to know there’s a Halloween Parade on Saturday. You were also probably aware that parking is free on Thursdays in Nyack through the end of the year and earlier this month we had street fair and an Orangetown Fire parade.

But where are the banners, posters, buttons and signs reminding people to vote next Tuesday? Election Day is the neglected stepchild of community events. Which is why voter turnout is abysmally low.

It’s easy to put up an American flag, wear a lapel pin or to pledge allegiance to the ideals of democracy. It’s a bit harder to change the culture of voter apathy and improve the democratic process. Harder, but not impossible. And definitely worth the effort.

Don’t forget to vote next Tuesday. But more importantly, encourage your neighbors and friends to vote, too. Regardless of whom they favor.

Everyone who casts a vote becomes a stakeholder in our community by making an investment in the democratic process. It takes a village to run a village. The more of us who are on board, the better the result will be.

Special thanks to Palisades Hudson Financial Group LLC for their sponsorship of Election 2009 Coverage on NyackNewsAndViews.

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