Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Voting is Beautiful; Politics is Ugly.

A tradition is Saline County has formed over the past few elections during early voting which takes place in an annex building across the street from the Saline County Courthouse. The candidates line up on the hillside just up from the Early Voting Center and set up booths with their signs and literature to try and make one last effort at courting some votes. Yesterday, I joined the candidates with a Pro-life Booth with Vote Pro-Life Signs and Voter Guides on the candidate’s stance on abortion. Several of my fellow right to lifers in the area have organized for this and yesterday was my day. If you want to help, let me know!

I enjoyed getting the front row seat to see democracy in action as over 1,300 voters (a record for the first day) went in to cast their votes. It seemed that regardless of which candidate they supported most folks were excited about this election and about voting. Of course, since this was the first day of early voting, these were voters who were eager to cast their votes at the first possible moment. It was also fun to watch the candidates interact. I am not sure how much most people realize that there is quite a bit of camaraderie among candidates, that transcends parties and campaign issues. It is really cool to watch.

I also had a couple reminders of how ugly people can make politics. Next door to my booth was Democrat Candidate for State Representative District 29 Scott Smith (Bryant area). He had to leave to run some errands and put up some signs. When he came back, I notice he had changed clothes and was showing his wife some sort of scar on his head. Like most guys, I could not pass up a chance to see a good scar so I inquired as to what happened. Evidently while he was putting up some signs, someone threw a rock and hit him on the back of the head. He showed me his pretty good size gash on his head.

I also got an email today from a support of Jon VanGorder, Republican candidate in District 67 (Greenwood area). Someone has been trashing his signs all over town. These signs can be quite expensive, particularly for local candidates with limited campaign budgets, many times funded from their own pockets. I know these troublemakers make up a small fridge of our state but they sure do make me respect the candidates who put up with them. I know it is easy to pile on how horrible politicians can be but yesterday I gained an appreciation of what they have to put with and how, for the most part, they handle it with grace.

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