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Scott MacKay’s Election Eve message

October 30, 2010

After months of tough scrutiny of Rhode Island’s political candidates, is it time to give them a break? WRNI political analyst Scott MacKay has this election-eve thought.

On election eve, let’s take a few moments to give the candidates their due. That’s right, all of the roughly 3,000 Rhode Islanders who ran in the primary and general elections for everything from town council and school committee to the General Assembly, the U.S. Congress and the governorship.

In these times of a poor economy, and a sour electorate and anger, let’s give a pat on the back to those who put themselves out there in front of the public. Democracy only works if people are willing to get involved and take responsibility for government.

The people who ran gave up a lot. While we were lolling at Scarborough Beach, cheering the PawSox at  McCoy, or hoisting a cold one and tossing another burger on the backyard grill, the candidates were out walking door-to-door, meeting and greeting and hopefully listening to the concerns of their constituents.

You may be sick of the negative tone of the Rhode Island governor’s race, but we ought to give credit to the candidates who put themselves and their families up for withering scrutiny in exchange for taking over the helm of a state with serious economic and budget problems.

Whatever you think of Frank Caprio, Linc Chafee, Ken Block or John Robitaille, they have all worked very hard and tried to convey their ideas to a skeptical public. Block, Caprio and Chafee are all Ivy League graduates and Robitaille was educated at Providence College. Chafee and Caprio hail  from well-known Rhode Island political families, but neither thought of high office as an entry-level job. They both started at the bottom; Chafee running for City Council in Warwick and Caprio for state rep in Providence. Robitaille, too, ran for state rep in Portsmouth and lost by just four votes. And Block has pursued a dream of starting a new political party, the Moderates, in a state long unfriendly to third parties.

We, the people, aren’t always the easiest to govern. We want first rate government services at cut rate prices. We expect government to be our servants 24/7 but too many of us sit on the sidelines and don’t even bother to vote. We wonder why government has to support so many people, but when was the last time you volunteered at a hospital or nursing home?  The state’s bloated Medicaid budget is largely a function of taking care of the poor elderly in nursing homes.

As former Senator Bill Bradley famously said, “You think the politicians are bad, well the people are no bargain.’’

Or better yet, consider the words of Theodore Roosevelt. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out where the strong man stumbles or the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.’’

He or she who makes no mistakes is the person who never does anything.

Tomorrow, let’s do our part and vote in what is still the greatest democracy the world has ever seen.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Craig permalink
    October 31, 2010 3:25 am

    Thanks for throwing a little positive light into what has been a mostly ugly and dark campaign season.

  2. Frymaster permalink
    November 1, 2010 1:44 pm

    I’m actually pretty hyped. If we can bring it home with Chafee and the new Progressive GA, amazing things can happen.

    If you think Progressives are bad for business, consider this: Burlington, VT is flush with cash, running a big surplus. Progressive Burlington – big surplus.

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