Did you ever order something online or out of a catalog only to be disappointed when you finally received the item?
Unfortunately, pictures, descriptions and product reviews do not always tell the whole story.
After all, highly paid marketing professionals exist solely to convince unsuspecting buyers that whatever product they are hawking is exactly what you need whether it really is or not.
The same is true of the public relations gurus that manage political campaigns.
I suppose we all know this, yet we often cast ballots based solely on what we see on a slick web site or hear in a 30 second sound bite.
It is important to research candidates, but that is still no substitute for meeting or listening to one in person.
The recent 7th Congressional District forum is a great example.
For weeks, I looked forward to that forum because I truly was having a difficult time deciding which candidate to support.
After reading about all the candidates - even the Democratic one - I narrowed my selection down to three choices. I walked into the June 7 forum fully expecting that one of those three men would win my vote.
It didn't happen.
Instead, the man who I thought would be the best candidate turned out to be a huge disappointment. My other two other candidates were lackluster and said nothing that distinguished them from a field of fairly well qualified individuals.
Fortunately, I did find a candidate I liked and will vote for on July 20. This candidate was well spoken, professional, composed and actually answered the questions he was asked by Barrow County Republican Party chairman Ken Young. Not all the candidates did that - some just danced around what were really two very straightforward questions.
This candidate used his allotted time to talk about what he would do if elected instead of criticizing his opponents or discussing irrelevant issues.
Altogether, he was more personable and seemed far more sincere than the men I had originally considered backing.
Had I not seen this man in person, I never would have known that.
In print and online, most of these candidates are seemingly model Republicans with stellar records. That is no accident. They have people who work tirelessly to make sure their candidates are portrayed in just that manner.
In person though, you have the opportunity to examine the whole package – how they interact with the voters, how they interact with other candidates and whether or not they can manage to say anything beyond a well-rehearsed, carefully crafted political speech.
The citizens of Barrow County are very fortunate to have an active Republican Party that has made numerous candidates available to the public throughout this election season.
If you have not met the candidates or listened to them speak in person, you are missing a great opportunity.
Many of this year's races will effectively be decided in the primary. It is absolutely critical to choose well qualified candidates - not just those with the most Facebook followers or great name recognition.
Remember these politicians are a product being marketed to you the voter. These candidates may look great on paper but perform poorly in reality.
In a Presidential race and some other high profile races, there are televised debates and media interviews which allow you to assess a candidate beyond the slogans and sound bites you get in commercials and printed on campaign flyers.
That is not typically the case with local school board or county commission candidates. That is a shame because these people control a significant portion of your tax dollars. Their decisions will affect you and your finances greatly.
There is no substitute for examining a political "product" up close and judging with your own eyes and ears as to whether or not a particular candidate will represent you well.
There are more forums planned in the next few weeks. Take a couple of hours, come out to one and see for yourself who will be representing you after the next election.
Kristi Reed is a reporter for the Barrow Journal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for your comments, Kristi. I agree with you and as a former chairman of the Barrow County Republican Party, I now commend my great friend Ken Young on the job he is doing to improve and increase it's efficiency and influence on the voters of Barrow County with the message of Freedom. WE are blessed, this year with a number of real freedom fighters running for public office from the levels of City, County, State and Federal, but we as voters must seek them out. Personally, I am culling all but one incumbent in Georgia and that is State Representative, Bobby Franklin. I don't live in Bobby's district but I highly recommend that, those that don't live in his district learn about him and support him in his endeavors to take back our Republic. I truly believe there are a number of people out there that could fill the shoes of people like Bobby Franklin, Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, George Washington, John Adams -- a real Constitutionalist-- and Grover Cleveland. Some of those people are non incumbents running for governor (Ray McBerry), Shane Coley (St. Senate047) Senate-47), Terry Rogers (St. Senate-50), Max Wood (St. Attorney General), Doug MacGinnittie-State (Ga. Secretary of State) and Clint Harper (Franklin County Commissioner-4) There may be others but I don't see them yet. But I will keep watching and listening. Thank you and the Barrow Journal for allowing me to post my message.
06/23/10 at 10:14 AM
The Barrow Journal certainly has a lot of stories about the local Republican Party. Odd seeing how I talked about this with the editor and he claimed he is not a Republican. Hard to believe when he puts all this in the paper. I'm tiring of reading about the Barrow County Republicans whose mindset is stuck in the 1950's.