Election day has come and gone, and each candidate worked very hard to secure and obtain the most votes necessary to win.

They each have their own beliefs and history in politics _ some of them good, some of them not so good. Among the topics that have grabbed attention in recent weeks is the Marc Foley page scandal.

Although no time is right for any scandal, election time is by far the worst time, since such scandal can greatly determine the outcome of the election. Republican Tom Reynolds almost lost his chance at re-election, because he knew of the election firsthand yet didn’t do anything about it initially.

The same can be said about State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, a Queens democrat. Although he acknowledged in a couple of instances that he used his confidential aides to help his wife without getting the approval of, and reimbursing, the State’s commission – costing the taxpayers money – and has since apologized and repaid the state $82,688, the polls show that he had a sizeable lead over GOP opponent J. Christopher Callaghagn.

Election scandals are, of course, nothing new. Ever since the electoral process came to be (at least the one that we are familiar with), it has been tainted with one scandal after another.

Some have garnered considerable attention, others enough attention. Regardless of such, each one has forever tainted the images of the constituents, changed the lives of many individuals, usually for the worst, and has forever shaken whatever faith many may have in the institution of government and its leaders.

Whatever one’s feelings towards government and its leaders, it cannot be denied that these individuals play a very important, if not crucial, role in the everyday life of an individual.

The very decisions that they make in their offices, as well as the laws that they pass (or veto) can have a very lasting impact on the lives of the governed. In some instances, they can determine the quality of a person’s life, whether they live or die (i.e. the death penalty for the hardest of criminals) or struggle or prosper (i.e. the downsizing and shipping of jobs to other countries).

As powerful as government and its constituents may seem, it also has drawbacks. That is, it can do no more than the consent of the governed.

An intelligent and informed mass of governed people can not only ensure proper treatment, but proper allocation of resources as well. It can also promote radical change and transition if the aforementioned is not met properly, and the people are unreasonably abused. As history so eloquently teaches us, governments are formed and created to protect and defend the human rights of the governed. If it fails to do such, then the duty of the governed is to alter and change it so it does.

This brings me to another point. As an intelligent mass can effect positive change and assure proper treatment, an unintelligent mass cannot do such. It will only uplift a quasi-status-quo, and only widen the gap between haves and have-nots.

With this in mind, it is up to the individual to learn and understand the election process, as well as people partaking in it. It is also imperative that they use their basic freedom in any democratic society (the power of their vote) to select the candidate that they feel best represents not only their freedom and interests, but the common freedom and interests of others.

Jackson is a guest writer and an employee at UR.



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