By Heather Curlee Novak
How ‘bout those Presidential Candidate Debates? People are excited or scared or mortified by the candidates and the muckraking of a national election. They watch debates, Facebook about their favorite candidates, and talk with friends. These same people may not even be aware of their city’s local elections (the national election’s forlorn stepchild). I rarely voted in local elections before getting married to John who loves politics. I would vote only for presidents and when I voted it was usually straight ticket. I was raised to care about elections, I just didn't. I got a kick out of my Grandmother Lutes' joke that she was a Democrat and Grandpa Willard was a Republican (or vice versa?) and so when they voted they canceled each other out. I thought, "Why bother?" I was raised to care about elections, I just didn't.
After getting married, I usually asked my husband John what he thought of political candidates because I knew he was smart and paid attention. And he cared. I began voting in local elections because I was apparently a grown up and it was the thing to do. I read apathetically about pending candidates and voted. I voted. And I voted.
Now after going door to door to get John on the Valparaiso, Indiana city council ballot, after campaigning beside him, meeting other candidates, going to the forum and actually READING the newspaper articles about the upcoming election: I care. I know how foolish a person sounds who says "Ohhh...I don't vote". I want to ask if they have other people make all of their other decisions for them. I realize that in not being aware and informed, in not caring much for politics, I let other people speak for me and they rarely get it right.