Voters must hold candidates accountable

caines | 7/19/2012, 5:30 a.m.

It seems that more than a few candidates, from Barack Obama and Mitt Romney at the national level, to several of those running for positions like Miami-Dade County commissioner or state representative at the local level, have gotten caught up in that popular childhood game of finger-pointing. Instead of saying what they bring to the table and explaining their platform for change, the strategy is one that blasts the opponent. The problem in most cases is that voters are forced to choose between the lesser of two evils. Of course in some cases the two from which we have to choose are more like three, four, five even seven. So, what is a rational-minded, self-respecting voter to do? Perhaps its time that we all do our homework. Review the website of the candidates and look at news articles or television interviews, both from your favorite media outlets and others. But read with care and watch for any discrepancies. It would also be helpful if you take a few evenings or a Saturday morning out of your schedule and attend any of a number of political forums or debates that continue to be held in the area. Some that come highly-recommended include: UP-PAC [Unrepresented Peoples Positive Action Council, founded and moderated by Betty Ferguson], the NAACP [formerly led by Bishop Victor Curry and now spearheaded by Ronda Vangates]; the Urban League of Greater Miami [led by T. Willard Fair] and a host of local churches from Opa-locka to Miami Gardens. In addition, The Miami Times has entered the ranks of sponsoring political forums with its own two-day affair on July 26 and 27. This will be the first time the Times will engage the community with a slate of selected candidates. Those who will speak, we might add, have been chosen based on the unofficial polling of our readers. Keep in mind that none of these forums or debates can possibly serve as a one-stop-fits-all event. Given the large number of seats up for grabs and with the greater than usual number of Black candidates vying for positions, we will need a plethora of opportunities to hear their views, their platforms and their promises that hopefully, they intend to keep. Its political season once more in Miami-Dade County. And its sure to be full of surprises right up until the primary election on August 14 and the general election in November.