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Politics in 2012… What will it mean for us?

A NoBo Perspective

By Matt Laidlaw and Keith Spencer

Over the last decade, American politics has evolved into its own version of reality television. As another presidential election begins, the political landscape will dominate American culture as interviews, tweets, and sounds bites infiltrate nearly every aspect of our already-busy lives.

Every candidate is going to try to capitalize on Obama’s pioneering use of social media where it is now embedded in our daily lives and culture. Twitter is our modern newswire, not only for the movers and shakers in government and media, but also for the average, young American.

Yet, the candidates will not freely access and post their own thoughts or ideas to social media sites during the campaign, embodying the dilemma we face in 2012. Can we believe what is being promised to us by these candidates or is it all just a farce?

Despite continued efforts on both sides to set the tone, the American people are growing weary that our elected officials are simply not meeting or even discussing the demands of these trying times.

Over the last two years, we have witnessed the rise (and perhaps fall) of the Tea Party, the virtual elimination of a moderate voice for independents, and continued calls for a third-party candidate to challenge President Obama in 2012.

Republicans aren’t happy. Democrats aren’t happy, and our nation and its people are suffering as a result.

Will it matter that you’re Democrat or Republican anymore considering each party has lost their identity? Republicans are split in more ways than one. Democrats are still finding their way back despite having the ball in their court for most of the last game.  While the major news networks will once again focus on red vs. blue, voters are focusing on electing a candidate who puts forth the best option for our future.

There’s an expectation that our leaders – from our Mayors to the President – live and think locally. It’s one thing to go town to town and kiss babies and shake hands. We expect that our leaders will do something after hearing and listening to our plights.

When you look the gateway cities of the NoBo region, cities like Everett, Revere, and Malden are doing the best they can in some of the worst financial times. Unfortunately, there’s only so much control that can be exercised at the local level. Mayors must rely on those we elect to the State House who in turn rely on those sent to Congress. Yet, the actual expectation of anything getting done with our current Congress is pretty low.

Then of course we have the President, the CEO of our nation. Like any business leader, there’s an expectation that everyone will fall in line from the top down, however, we have seen very little cooperation from either side of the aisle.

As Americans expect more from our leaders, maybe we should expect more from ourselves? Maybe we should take the time to really think about who we are putting into office and why.

The beauty of our democracy is that anyone can really do anything.  Anyone can run for president theoretically. You don’t have to have a special degree or certification. Now, bring that philosophy closer to home. As Tea Party activists did two years ago, you or your neighbor can run for your local legislative body, become your city’s Mayor, or even get sent to Congress.

Have we become a nation of beggars?  Do we need a kick in our own pants? We have to be a nation of people who can work our way out of our own problems. Our hard work ethic and spirit of entrepreneurship is what made America the great nation it is today. We can’t be a strong nation if we’re constantly looking to the President, Governor or Mayor to bail us out when times get tough.

Doesn’t it say something when so many teenagers feel the only way to the top is through celebrity or winning a spot on reality television?

We can only hope that those we send to Washington, D.C. do as they are expected: compromise and work together with one another to ensure a better and bright future for America.

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