There were lots of reasons Fort Madison school district voters rejected the elementary school bond referendum. It would behoove supporters to contemplate some of them before bringing this up for a fourth round of voting.
Although I had (and still have) reservations about the latest proposal, I actually voted for it. But that was only after weighing pros versus cons based on all the information made available by those who shared their thinking on the subject – albeit mostly at the last minute. My decision was a close call – I’d estimate it was (in my mind) a 57 to 43 percent ratio favoring the proposal. I’d much prefer having a 90 to 10 comfort ratio.
For what it’s worth, I didn’t let emotion affect my vote. However, I’d be willing to bet many voters did – both yes and no voters. More on that later.
No doubt many yes voters found it hard to understand how anyone could vote no, and vice versa. That being said, I believe some referendum supporters who shared angry feelings publicly made a BIG mistake. I’m referring to the ones who stated in no uncertain terms that they pretty much deemed non-supporters to be stupid, ill-informed, hateful, selfish, etc.
Showing such a lack of respect for the other side is not an effective way to gain support for anything. There were important points being made both ways. I would suggest that those who couldn’t accept any of the other side’s points or concerns as having validity were themselves very shortsighted to say the least.
NOBODY likes to be told what to do, and it’s perfectly reasonable for non-supporters in this case to be really irritated that supporters are simply going to keep doing this over and over until the bond referendum passes. What that says is: “We’re going to keep doing this no matter what you think, and we will ultimately defeat you.” That hurts a lot of feelings and generates considerable animosity. There should probably be a legal limit on how many times this can be done.
In this latest vote, I suspect the majority of supporters and non-supporters alike weighed the overall pros and cons from their own perspective just as I did, and voted accordingly. But, where votes were based solely on emotions and/or on only 1 or 2 factors or issues, I would respectfully suggest that such an approach when voting on any public measure (or in any election) is generally not a good idea.
We owe it to ourselves and to posterity to learn as much as we can before voting on anything, and to be as honest and considerate as we can be when sharing facts and viewpoints with others beforehand. Especially when sensitive issues are involved – i.e., pretty much every time.
Once we’ve absorbed all the information we can gather, it’s possible we can still be uncertain about which way to go. In that case, there’s a good chance sincere prayer will enable us to resolve our discomfort and vote with a clear conscience. That’s what I had to do.