1994 is here and once again we are in the midst of an election year. This year a third of the United States Senate, every member of the House of Representatives and all six New England governors will be up for re-election. And once again we in New England will hear 34 candidates from the Senate, the House and the Governors' mansions giving speeches. And once again we should expect to see our great orators - the most articulate candidates we have - kissing babies and telling us about the great columns of their campaigns, how they will be hard on crime, that there will be peace on earth, apple pie and, of course, the Fourth of July.
But perhaps this year will be different and maybe the candidates will break the molds set forth by their ancestors of the century. It is possible that once again great speeches and quotes will be made. It is also possible the sun will suddenly explode and destroy the earth. The reason why candidates continue to be carbon copies is because the voters let them. The reason why the stereotypes are true is because that is what the voters want to see. In this recent presidential election one of the candidates spoke the truth and this former Massachusetts senator was booed because he pointed out that American products are inferior and American workers are lazy and he asked them to try to fix it. At the same time, other candidates were hailed as they claimed everything was all right, no new taxes, America is beautiful.
It is our fear of knowing that we have failed and it is our failure to try to fix this problem that has turned us into the weak people. It is the desire to run from our problems and turn to a man or woman who tells us we will be great some day just by driving Chevrolets and singing the National Anthem. What we need is a candidate who is more than a puppet; what we need is a leader.
So remember, when your parents are discussing at the dinner table who they are going to vote for, give your input. Look for a real candidate who is going to do something other than bounce checks and make promises while waving and smiling.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.