Character counts

Dear Editor,

With these crucial mid-term elections looming, I wanted to take this opportunity to help all candidates running for public office to understand what they must do to earn my vote.

First and foremost, you must demonstrate a solid understanding of the fact that if you are elected to whatever office you are pursuing, you will have been given the privilege and incredibly important and humbling responsibility of representing and serving all of your constituents — who have seen fit to entrust you with this role – to the very best of your ability. In order to do this, you must set aside your own personal and partisan interests and relentlessly focus on doing what is right in order to best serve the public good. You must never forget that the heart of this role is public service – you were not elected to use this power given you to enrich yourself or to serve your own ego-driven needs, but to serve others. And when it seems that doing what you know to be the right thing in any given situation might cost you votes or anger your party or your donors, then so be it — you must make the courageous choice.

You will be faced with numerous choices which will impact many people counting on you to make wise decisions, and certainly in many of these cases it will not be readily clear what the best thing to do is given that various factors, trade-offs, and complex “pros and cons” will need to be considered, along with pressure from various sources to choose a particular course. And although I may not fully agree with your final decision in some of these instances, as long as it is clear that you have made a passionate and genuine effort to sort through all pertinent issues and weigh them carefully in a dedicated effort to ultimately make the best choice, you will earn my respect and my vote.

In essence, if you function in your role as if you are there to serve only this one term and to do the most good possible for those you are serving during this time — and thus with no concerns about politics, votes or re-election – your will earn my vote.

In addition, if you consistently treat others with respect, acceptance, and kindness, while at the same time demonstrating the courage to stand up for your principles and your constituents, you will earn my vote.

This surely must be what the Founding Fathers envisioned in their idealistic and hopeful creation of this representative democracy, which counts on “the better angels of our nature” to step forward and serve this great nation and its citizens honorably so that it remains that “shining city on the hill.” May all those seeking office prove themselves worthy of shouldering this sacred duty. And may all voters take their responsibilities seriously and vote for those candidates who best demonstrate the character to serve us all well by doing the right thing to the best of their ability if elected.

Respectfully submitted,

Dale E. Buonocore,