Recent events have forced me to change my voting strategy. I'm no longer going to get hung up on party tags, campaign planks or even political ideology. My sole acid test for any candidate wanting my support is honesty.
The electorate, I believe, has been overanalyszing its political choices. Are the candidates right or left? Where do they stand on the issues? What are their ideas for improving our quality of life, lowering taxes or creating jobs?
All valid questions, but I'm whittling my criteria to one: Will they stay out of jail?
It seems an elementary request of an elected official. But, dang, too many just can't get the job done.
Hitting close to home is the land-deal scandal rocking Gwinnett County. A resignation and grand jury indictments are the kind of thing the county commission hasn't had to deal with for some time. But it's here and it hurts. That type of political cancer prevalent elsewhere seemed to stop at Gwinnett's borders. Now, the untarnished image is smuged.
But it just isn't the local embarrassment that has me rethinking my voting criteria. Too many politicians are cheating, whether it be on their taxes, with their votes or on their spouses.
So yes, unfortunately, I've found it necessary to lower my expectations. I'm not asking for much -- if we can elect officials who won't steal, squander, embezzle or otherwise misappropriate our tax dollars, it will be a step in the right direction.
On Tuesday as I approach the election station -- we really can't call them booths anymore -- and I start at the top of the ballot and work my way down, I'll cast my vote based on one issue and one issue alone: honesty.
Haven't talked to anyone who isn't ready for the election to be over, what with all the robo-calls and dirty campaign tactics. But if you're looking for a star amid the muck and mire, you can find it in the 7th District congressional race.
Republican Rob Woodall and Democrat Doug Heckman are running the perfect example of a civil campaign. No mudslinging, no undermining tactics. In fact, while campaigning, these two have actually been heard complimenting each other's accomplishments and qualities. They will then go on to accurately explain their political differences.
Wouldn't it be nice if others did the same? I'd vote for both of these guys if I could.
J.K. Murphy is the publisher of the Gwinnett Daily Post. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.