Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Defining Irrelevant

From Dictionary.com:

ir·rel·e·vant

[ih-rel-uh-vuhnt] Show IPA
–adjective
1.
not relevant; not applicable or pertinent: His lectures often stray to interesting but irrelevant subjects.
2.
Law . (of evidence) having no probative value upon any issue in the case.

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Now that we have the basis of the discussion covered, I'm going to talk about something that is irrelevant, namely the Lackawanna County Democratic Party's recent endorsements.  You can read about it HERE (sorry, no more links to the Scranton Times). 

Think about it:  why on Earth would you EVER want Attorney Harry McGrath (Democratic Party Boss, who is also the solicitor for the Scranton School District by the way) telling you who to vote for?  Oh, and please, don't insult my intelligence by saying "endorsed" is different than "tell you who to vote for", as why have an endorsement process if not to influence voting decisions?  What's more, what criteria was used in "the back-room" to determine these endorsements?  No offense to Attorney McGrath, but who I should vote for as a registered Democrat is between me, the candidates in question and the voting booth.  No room for "party bosses" in that last sentence by the way.

I loathe political party endorsements.  I view them as being, you guessed it, irrelevant; what's more I fervently believe you should view them as irrelevant as well.  Why?  Well a representative democracy works when YOU chose someone to act in YOUR stead to get stuff done from a public policy perspective.  It fails when you delegate that responsibility for informed choice to someone else, even with the best of intentions.  Yes, I do realize that no one can pull that voting lever for you (well...maybe make that "should pull that lever"), but never the less this is all about power and influence where none should exist.

I'll take this one another step further:  I strongly suggest that obtaining a party endorsement is probably a BAD thing relative to the quality of a candidate running for office.  The endorsement process simply raises too many questions, most of which ultimately make you wonder about "quid pro quo" arrangements.  These include:
  • What are the business relationships between party bosses and the endorsed candidates? For example, one of the County Commissioner candidates is on the Scranton School Board...you know, the same group that decides on a contract for a board solicitor (read up).
  • What are the family relationships between the party bosses and the endorsed candidates?
Now I'm not claiming that there should be an automatic assumption of guilt, but I am saying that back-room endorsements simply raise so many questions that a reasonable person should walk away thinking "this doesn't make any sense".

Do yourself a favor:  ignore what party insiders tell you, be they Democratic or Republican.  They have no business thinking for, speaking for or acting for you.  Be a smart participant in the political process by making informed voting decisions.

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