This week, my fellow citizens in small-town (Bartlesville) Oklahoma, go to vote.
Yet the choice is not about Republicans or Democrats.
It is a bond issue that will attempt to shield our local schools from crippling budget cuts.
Turnout is expected to be very low.
And that’s a shame, because there are lots of reasons to be FAR more excited about a local school bond, than there are to be excited about either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
Here are five:
- BECAUSE TRUMP IS GOING LOSE, NO MATTER HOW MANY FACEBOOK POSTS YOU WRITE.
He just is—and for lots of reasons. But mostly because we haven’t seen this kind of mind-numbing self-sabotage since Ryan Lochte called his mom from Rio. Given this, it would make more sense to direct your political passion to other votes at the state and local levels.
- BECAUSE UNLIKE THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE, THE MAIN OPTIONS DON’T FEEL LIKE A REQUEST TO CHOOSE YOUR FAVORITE CANCER.
Unlike Trump v. Clinton, your local school bond is far less likely to feel like a lose/lose choice. It’s a simple decision either up or down. And as a colleague of mine put it, it is different from the presidential ballot because it feels much less like you’ve been asked to pick your favorite Menendez brother.
- BECAUSE YOUR LOCAL SCHOOL BOND IS NOT DECIDED BY PEOPLE IN FLORIDA AND OHIO (*UNLESS YOU LIVE IN FLORIDA OR OHIO).
In small elections, at the state and local level, your vote carries much more weight in determining the outcome. Yet our passions are often illogically focused on races in which your vote will make no difference at all. To be clear, that’s not an invitation to skip the Presidential ballot, but it is a request to Google “electoral college” if you think I’m wrong.
Sadly, it’s the races that we often ignore that give us the biggest opportunity to make a difference.
- BECAUSE NO MATTER WHO IS PRESIDENT, PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE HEAVILY INFLUENCED BY FOLKS AT THE STATE AND LOCAL LEVELS.
In my home state of Oklahoma, our public schools are woefully underfunded. We pay teachers terribly. And we pay a heavy price for it. In the end, there are lots of reasons for this, but none of them have much to do with who is President. Our teachers were paid poorly under Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, etc. And the solution to that problem will not come by way of the Presidential ballot.
- BECAUSE THE SCHOOL BOND IS NEITHER A REPUBLICAN NOR A DEMOCRAT.
These days, almost everything boiled down to the awkward binaries of Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative.
Thus it is refreshing to vote on something that is simply an important issue, and not a purely partisan one. This week, many of my Republican friends will join me in voting “Yes” on our school bond, as will many of my Democratic ones.
(If you disagree, that’s okay too.)
But in this vote, the mud slinging of Trump vs. Clinton won’t matter.
Because the choice is about our kids, like my kindergarten daughter.