When In Doubt…

So, today (Nov. 6) was election day.  For New York, it was statewide and local elections, with a couple Supreme Court seats and town and county boards and such. 

Now, allow me to put into perspective exactly what it’s like living in a small, rural area in Northern New York.  First of all, most people outside of New York don’t realize there’s anything north of Albany.  People who actually live in NY usually don’t realize that, above Syracuse, there’s still miles and miles of New York left before Canada and Vermont.  To most New Yorkers (and most people outside as well), New York consists pretty much of NYC, Albany, Buffalo and Syracuse.  The only reason they even recognize Syracuse is because of the college.  I think, if they think of it at all, they just figure the places in between are like a twilight zone of sorts… just a nuicance within the space-time continuum that makes it take longer for them to get from Albany to Syracuse.

When they do recognize that there are people this far north, it’s mostly in regards to the Adirondack Park, a wonderful little place that we have to live with, but the decisions about which are made by people not from here.  To these people, we are a magical faerie forest and the people residing here are inconsequential.  

Which is why, when I vote on a State level, I vote for people who will largely leave us alone.  This means, generally speaking, voting Republican.  Democrats have traditionally never shared power well between levels of government, wanting more and larger jurisdiction from the top down.  This is demonstrably true here in the North Country, where Albany Democrats render decisions on businesses coming into town, on land usage — you know, things that, traditionally, the local municipalities take care of.

Local elections are more frustrating, though.  Generally speaking, if it’s not somebody the local news outlets are outwardly rooting for, you’re very hard-pressed to find information on the local candidates.  Often, on a local level, they don’t have a voting record to speak of, having never held office before.  What you really have to go on are excerpts from speaches at the local VFW or letters to the editor.  Needless to say, this leaves some level of doubt when it comes time to pull the lever. 

This was true for me today, entering into the voting booth.  I had very little idea of who was running for what, and why.  I knew what the local papers said, and what some of the letters to the editors said.  Some of the individuals running had commercials made, so I had those to go on as well.  Not much. 

And now it’s confession time.  My dirty little secret?  When in doubt, I pull the Republican lever.  Sure it’s not as good as carefully considering each candidate on his or her merits.  If such information was available, that is.  But, far from the cop-out most people will accuse me of, this is actually a carefully-considered decision. 

My reasoning is simple.  I like to be left alone.  I don’t like to be told what to do — especially regarding the mundane details of my life: what car I drive, and how often I get it checked up; where I shop and why; what I can or cannot have in my own yard and when.  And, by and large, Republicans are more likely to leave me alone than Democrats are.

I consider myself a Libertarian — a conservative Libertarian, but a true one.  I recognize that Democrats are likely to remove more of my choices and liberties than the Republicans are.  I understand that Republicans are more likely than Democrats to let the market system work instead of legislating away every small problem (thereby, usually, creating much larger problems in the long run).  I realize that Democrats are more likely than Republicans to take more of my money during the course of the term and use it on programs with which I disagree. 

And so, if I have to choose between the two, all other things being equal (or unknown), I pull the Republican lever.  Especially if there’s no Libertarian on the ballot.

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