How we win should be as important as the win itself! As a young man growing up, it was seared in my brain that to win is great, but the means by which the win is achieved is always more important than the win itself. When one cheats and wins, there is no win at all. Winning means conquering the competition without employing illicit means. There can be no win if equity and fair play was missing in the process. Sadly, that was exactly the case in the recent municipal elections here in Paterson, fair play and integrity came out casualties of an already badly broken system. Every election needs legitimacy, and that comes only when the people accept the results of the electoral contest as fair. If they don’t because of demonstrated cheating, this could lead to anarchy. We should never allow fierceness of competition to lead to deviance. Any candidate who can’t win a race on the merits is simply not ready for prime time, they are just faking it!
How we approach competition of any sort says much about who we are. It says much about our character and belief in our own capacity to achieve on the merit. If we are unprepared, we’ll cut corners to win. But in the case of politics our mediocrity will affect the lives of many. Full disclosure, I supported councilman William McKoy in the May 12 elections. While a win by him was important to me and those involved, it never crossed my mind that we had to secure a win by any means necessary. From my interaction with the campaign this was never a thought, everyone engaged the process with respect and integrity.
We instinctively knew from the start, as all good athletes know and understands; no matter how good one might be… there’s always the possibility of a bad outing. That was a situation we were all prepared for and ready to deal with considering the volatility of city politics. However, what we were not prepared for was the level of corruption, skullduggery and dishonesty that attended this election. Clearly, it was choking and too in our face for any democratic loving one to accept. How can any reasonable adjudicator of law validate an election when 25% percent of the votes in that election was set aside without any clear stated reason? So, I’m compelled to ask if my vote is part of the batch of 25% sitting uncounted at the Board of Elections. I think we all need to know! While this is nothing new to Paterson, what’s clear is the problem is getting bigger, and that it must stop now!
The sanctity of every vote must be respected, and as such; we must collectively commit ourselves to rid the stage of all bad actors amongst us. Election fraud is a crime, and it’s time someone pay the price for their fraudulent behavior. We should never accord respect to the devious miscreants, who election cycles to election cycles keep putting us through this situation. The rule of law must make its entrance here! These individuals must be sanctioned, it should be heavy, and done now! I know this might not sit comfortably with everyone, but every fraudulent vote diminishes the value and impact of the otherwise authentic votes. It is therefore imperative that we find out if our vote was counted in the last election, or still sitting there at the Board of Elections in the uncounted pile. As for me I’ve really had enough of this nonsense and I’m tired of it.
Let’s stand up Paterson and demand a proper election.
Written by Errol Kerr, former Paterson school board member and resident of the 3rd Ward.