Many years ago while attending college, I did a research paper on women’s suffrage. Since reading the price that women before me paid for my right to vote, I have made sure I became an informed voter in each election.
It has never been my desire to campaign for any candidate, just to be an informed voter; however, this year a member of my family is running for an office so I have studied the issues in that race even more carefully. I have some thoughts about a particular situation that I wish to express.
There are several people involved in a court room in this scenario. On one side of the courtroom there is the prosecutor whose responsibility is to provide clear and convincing evidence to prove the defendant’s guilt.
On the other side of the courtroom is the defense counsel whose responsibility it is to be sure that the defendant receives a fair trial. (US laws state that a person “is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”) Defending a client does not mean that the defense counsel approves of the defendant’s behavior - only wants to see that he get a fair trial. Being convicted or exonerated on technicalities indicate “sloppy” or dishonest work on someone’s part and it is the defense counsel’s responsibility to see that these issues are resolved. If not resolved, a guilty person has reason for an appeal that could even mean he or she walks out as a free person, although he is guilty and belongs in jail.
Between these two positions is the judge. The judge has the responsibility to see that the proceedings are carried out in accordance with the law.
Last in the courtroom is the jury. This group of peers of the defendant has the responsibility to listen to the evidence presented by both the prosecutor and the defense counsel while keeping an open mind. Then the group must weigh the evidence presented by both sides and decide which side presented the most clear and convincing evidence as to the guilt or innocence of the defendant.
Over arching all the people in the courtroom is the voter, whose responsibility might well be judged as the one of the most, and some would say most important, responsibility. It is the responsibility of the voter to study the qualifications of each of the candidates for the office being sought; in this case, prosecutor, defense counsel, and judge, and then chose the one most qualified for each office, and vote for that one person in each of the positions.
When I leave the voting booth I want to be able to look myself in the eye and know that I voted for the person I believed to be most qualified after researching his/her experience, training, etc .for the position being sought. I refuse to vote for someone less than the most qualified just because I am a friend of the person, or because of that person’s family, or where that person grew up or because someone else wanted me to vote for that person. I want to be able to say I voted for a candidate because I truly believed he/she was the most qualified, ready, and able to fill the position being applied for, from day one on the job. There is no reason for “on the job training” when there is a qualified person seeking the position, and it is the voter’s responsibility to decide - based on the evidence - which person that is.