My turn: Thankful for Murkowski's write-in campaign

Posted: Sunday, October 03, 2010

The person I want to vote for must be articulate and able to speak clearly with well-thought out ideas and facts. The person I want to vote for must be willing to take longer than a sound bite to provide real information on complex issues. Facts that make sense and can be verified and checked as well as ideas that just might be a solution.

They must have an open mind. No one person, one idea, or one party has the immediate solution to every problem. We, each of us, make mistakes, have our facts wrong sometime, and must be willing to consider the other person's point of view and concerns. Part of being in a reasoned, democratic republic is the open debate of ideas that result in solutions. Screaming at each other from set positions based on beliefs rather than understanding of the facts, or having our way because we have more power than the others - we might as well be 17th century royalty having our way by decree.

I want to vote for a person who understands we live in a democratic republic. We do not live in a complete democracy, sometimes we cannot do what the majority wants, or what the most powerful want. In this country, we have a republic where we elect leaders that are then supposed to lead. Find solutions, sometimes well-liked by the public, and sometimes not, that solve problems of real people, that enable our pursuit of happiness over the long term.

I am no longer a Republican. The concept of being called by paid companies and told that I must contribute to the party or I would no longer be a member was just wrong. Now, maybe we have a person in Lisa Murkowski who is willing to take stands on issues because they are the right thing to do, not because the party says so.

I am no longer a Republican, but neither am I Democrat. Although I swear I have considered keeping track of robocalls and voting for the party that calls me the least, I am neither. I am a thinking person, who wants to vote for a thinking person, who will try their very best to do what make sense, what does the most good, and what protects all of our futures - and I want to vote for someone like me.

Notice, not once in this did I say I will vote for someone who agrees with me on every issue, or one that is in favor or against abortion, or in favor or against school prayer. Although individually each issue is important, of far more importance is the ability of the person I vote for to say what they mean and mean what they say. To explain an issue and explain why they support or don't support certain perspectives of the issue and, a really big must-have, solutions. To command the facts and complete the job, unlike some mother grizzly bears who quit when the going gets tough, never a trait I have seen in a true Alaskan. I was raised to know and also taught repeatedly during my service to this country that anybody can see problems, now find a solution. Don't complain about the problem unless you have some suggestions.

So here is a novel thought, let's be the first part of a new revolt, a group of people willing to vote for someone willing to stand up. Let's vote for a write-in. Maybe, just maybe it will get someone's attention and we will get some solutions instead of screaming. And maybe it will also shut up the bear.

• Gates is a Juneau resident.

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