- - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Sometimes you can learn a lot by handing out or accepting sample ballots on Election Day. Some voters will scoff at the notion of merely accepting a piece of paper listing their opposing party’s candidates. Others may gleefully accept or boldly request their party’s sample ballot.

On voting day this year, I decided to engage the two high school seniors, who happened to be Hispanic, who were passing out Republican sample ballots. We wound up discussing a variety of issues, including education, immigration, minimum wage, marriage, race and the Republican brand among youth and minorities. I was impressed by the students’ level of awareness, their opinions and how they expressed them.

I also engaged a woman, who happened to be white and considerably older than me, who was there passing out Democrat samples. Her initial response was that she did not want to discuss the issues, because “it would only lead to us fussing with one another.” I decided to concede my reluctance to support Republican Senate candidate Ed Gillespie, for the same reasons I refused to in the primary. However, I continued, I could not support Sen. Mark R. Warner for his failure to speak out or take action after the Benghazi attack, for starters.

The woman’s response was: “What difference does it make? That is a dead issue.” After my initial shock, I refrained from clarifying that the “dead issue” concerned four dead Americans. I simply decided there would be little common ground worth trying to find with her.

Founding Fathers James Madison and Alexander Hamilton stressed the importance of voting for people of virtue and experience, while avoiding mere promisers or visionaries. They charged voters “to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virtue to pursue, the common good of the society.” My discussion with the ballot distributors this week left me more hopeful about our future generation’s ability to fulfill Madison and Hamilton’s vision.



RINGO LANZETTI

Falls Church

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