Image Credit: Quotefancy

Just a couple of days before what could be among the most important elections in decades, some random thoughts. 

Each election, I think that perhaps negativity had run its course, only to find that the next election digs deeper in the mud, and less into ideas.

“Listen to the people who are talking about how to fix what’s wrong, not the ones who just work people into a snit over the problems,” wrote the late columnist and author Molly Ivins. “Listen to the people who have ideas about how to fix things, not the ones who just blame others.”

Unfortunately, this election has been short on ideas, in Rhode Island and across this nation. At stake is not only an election where winners are selected by how loud they are, but nearly $1.5 billion in proposed school construction projects in Rhode Island that can impact generations of young people.

On Aquidneck Island, voters in Newport and Middletown will decide whether to merge the school systems, and in Middletown to also build new schools, costing hundreds of millions of dollars. 

At What’sUpNewp we’ve made a valiant effort at presenting local and statewide candidates, in interviews that have allowed candidates to present themselves and their ideas. Our goal is simply to provide you, the voters, with information that we hope has been helpful in your making your decisions. We have provided Republicans, Democrats and Independents equal access.

For the most part, the candidates of all persuasions have embraced the opportunity … for the most part. We are disappointed that the Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Ashley Kalus, a Newport resident, was scheduled to appear, canceled, and in spite of our making several efforts to reschedule, never did so. We are disappointed that the Republic Lieutenant Governor candidate Aaron Guckian never responded to our multiple requests. It is certainly their prerogative not to appear.

Nationally, we’ve seen candidates who have had to pull television advertising off the air because of blatant inaccuracies. The New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin had to swap out a clip from an ad on crime, when it was found the crime scene portrayed was from Oakland, California, not New York.

Photoshopped ads, spliced sound bites have appeared across the country, portraying candidates’ positions that have no relationship to their actual opinions. 

Hundreds of election deniers are on the ballot, in defiance, of course, of the 60 plus courts that rejected such claims.

Many candidates have said they won’t accept the election results unless, of course, they win. Some candidates were among the crowd in D.C. on Jan. 6, and others have openly expressed that if elected they would have the right to overturn the vote of the people in future elections.

There have been claims about the economy – good and bad – when in fact much of what happens with the economy has little to do with politicians, and more to do with top executives at leading corporation. “Fundamentally, despite our politics-obsessed society, most ordinary people and the media vastly overrate the impact of political developments on the overall economy,” wrote Preston Calwell in a recent edition of Barron’s.

So, if you haven’t voted yet – and most of you have not – think carefully before casting your ballot, for candidates or referenda (including school construction and regionalization). Consider which candidates have simply been about bluster, offering no new ideas, and those who have presented new ideas. 

Only by voting can we really do what Thomas Paine said “is the duty of every man, as far as his ability extends, to detect and expose delusion and error.”

Frank Prosnitz

Frank Prosnitz brings to WhatsUpNewp several years in journalism, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal. Prosnitz began his journalism career as a sportswriter at the Asbury Park (NJ) Press, moving to The News Tribune (Woodbridge, NJ), before joining the Providence Journal. Prosnitz hosts the Morning Show on WLBQ radio (Westerly), 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and It’s Your Business, also on WBLQ, Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Prosnitz has twice won Best in Business Awards from the national Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), twice was named Media Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration, won an investigative reporter’s award from the New England Press Association, and newswriting award from the Rhode Island Press Association.