Monday, November 07, 2005

The end is in sight

The voting booths open in about 18 hours. A little over fourteen hours after that, the first returns will be reported, and hopefully before we all go to bed tomorrow night we'll know who's our new governor, if we have to piece together a lieutenant governor, what's up with the assembly, and who's on the town council.

The end is in sight. None too soon.

Recently I was asked at a gathering why I got into blogging. I gave the cocktail-party answer: I would talk to my blogger friends and we'd discuss national politics but when I mentioned state or local issues often no one knew beyond the vauge news line item. I started as a way to get friends involved in the local process, started writing more opinions, and off it went. It's a good story and sounds good when said out loud.

There's more to it than that. I got into blogging for this race. The Governor of NJ is a powerful person in a heavily populated state. Only one other governor's race is going on this year so I expected a lot of national attention by the parties and the pundits. I hoped for a lively discussion of the issues, especially in a state loaded with problems- if you live here you know them well. Property taxes, school funding and construction, overdevelopment, corruption, home rule- I could go on and on.

And I have gone on and on. So have a lot of others. We've written and talked about the issues, trying to get people to hear about the solutions we feel are worthwhile and criticizing the ones we dislike.

Now, in the beginning, the race was- let's say- slow. I believe I used the word "snoozer" at least once. Many took this opportunity to discuss the issues. After a while for things began to heat up, as they invariably went negative and the issues went out the window. Sleazy tactics make for good headlines, and we got some big ones in the last month or so. Do these really change minds? I'm sure somewhere there are studies saying how much they do and that's why it happens, but I think it turns more people off to being involved in the political process.

But here we are at the end. We've made up our minds and are ready to vote (and some mailed their ballots already.) Some people are annoyed at the political process and won't vote in protest, and we'll have a low turnout, as always. That makes me sad- people in other countries all over the world are fighting and dying to have a say in their government, and we stay home on voting day because we're annoyed, and besides, there's something good on TV.

I won't. I'll probably vote first thing in the morning, breathe a heavy sigh of relief, then go about my normal day. I'm ready for this to be all done. I've talked and written until my jaw and fingers are sore.

Last night my husband joked with me that I'll need something new to focus on as of Wednesday. He's right. I'll be focusing on the Trenton players and what's going on in the Assembly. We'll have a new governor to watch and, I'm hoping, a new senator to follow. I'm not going anywhere, but I'll have to change that blurb up there on the right that says this blog is about the gubernatorial race.

Because the race will finally be over. The end is in sight.


Tata said...

Well - *an* end is in sight. You may refocus your energies but I suspect you'll find the work isn't done-done yet. Plus: you are interesting! Everything you say comes as news to me! Can I live without a fix? I cannot!

Don't hog the Sharon!

Rob S. said...

"Don't let it end.. I'm beggin' you, don't let it end this way..."

Seriously, tata -- Sharon's got the bug. Whoever wins the election, I think we can rest assured Sharon'll be on his case..

Brenda said...

you're such an inspiration to those of us who *want* to be informed but haven't gotten off our arses to find anything out.

Sharon GR said...

I love you guys!

Hmm... must find new focus...