There are over 10 tribal members competing for each position. This is the most candidates running for a position that I can recall. It is a good thing. I take it as a sign that more and more people want to become involved in the governing process here on the reservations.
All too often, we tribal members are quick to blame tribal councilmen when something goes wrong. We forget that we are the ones who elect individuals into these positions. Therefore, any criticism of them is actually a criticism of us.
In the next couple of weeks, I hope to be visited by candidates vying for Fort Totten District (my district) and the Secretary/Treasurer positions. My vote will definitely be influenced by a visit from the candidates, and the conversations I have with them.
Key words I will be listening for from the candidates are: accountability, separation-of-powers, due process, etc., etc. I will be evaluating them as to whether or not they have the character: courage, honesty, perseverance, and generosity, to follow through with their campaign "promises".
Back to our responsibility as voters, I was having a conversation with a close acquaintance the other day as to whom we should vote for. I listened in amazement to this individual as he/she ran through a list of "qualifications" this person wanted the "best" candidate to have. The qualifications were basically: dishonesty, cowardice, corruption, etc. Finally, I asked this individual, "Are you saying you will only vote for a person who legalizes drug abuse?" Naturally, the person's response was no. But that was not an honest answer. This individual did not want a person elected who would promote "law and order" on the reservation. A person with real courage, honesty, perseverance, and generosity would be the last person my acquaintance wanted to see elected.
Say the type of individual my close acquaintance want does get elected. My acquaintance then would be the first person to criticize this person when he/she governs in a dysfunctional manner.
It is up to us voters to elect a person who has REAL courage, honesty, perseverance, and generosity to lead us for the next four years.