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I apologize but I just can’t help it

By Staff | Oct 9, 2020

Please, somebody stop me. Before it is too late.

I swore I would not write any more columns about politics and the election. I seem to only get myself in hot water when I do.

But, I just can’t help myself.

If you are a frequent reader of this drivel that I try and write each week, then you probably have already guessed that I am an ultra moderate in my political persuasion. By that I mean I used to be a Republicrat, but now I am a Demican.

I?have said that I have voted for both Republican and Democrat presidential candidates since my first vote back in 1968.

I think of myself as a middle of the roader. I am that swing voter guy, the one who has voted often for the man or woman I think will do the best job as president, congressman, state senator, county commissioner, mayor, school board member and dog catcher…regardless of their political party affiliation.

Now before you fire off a note to the editor, I do realize we don’t really vote for dog catcher. But we do vote for county offices like sheriff and auditor, which has always puzzled me. Aren’t they employees of the county? Don’t they get hired the first time by the County Board and paid by the County Board? Why do they have to run in an election to keep their job?

I often tell the story that the only time I really had to run for public office was years ago in North Dakota. Like county sheriff, my newspaper had to be on the ballot to be elected as official newspaper of Ransom County, North Dakota. I ran ads, went door to door campaigning…and always lost the election to the newspaper that was in the county seat town.

I was elected to a seat on a city council once, but I didn’t really do any campaigning and won on a write in the first time and by simple attrition the second time.

But I digress. I mean, I really have digressed this time.

Getting back on track, I have to note that election campaigning used to be a bit more civilized, didn’t it?

Take negative ads, for instance. Most ads were about the candidates themselves in the olden days. Now most ads, especially those on television, are all about the other person, and what a repulsive, scary, evil person he (or she) is. And how your life is going to be so terrible should that other person get elected.

Granted, most of those commercials are not paid for by the candidate themselves, but by a political action committee (PAC) group, or a political party or even in some cases some pipe fitters union in New Jersey. But still, they are ugly ads which turn off middle of the road voters like me.

Now even flyers and mailers (which we seem to be getting every single day in the mail box), are negative. Sometimes the advertising piece has pictures of one candidate, but then you realize it is actually trashing that candidate. The piece is put out by the other candidate’s campaign office. Or some group that wants the other person elected.

And don’t even get me started on that presidential debate. Yikes. That was downright disgusting. I found it almost impossible to watch and kept checking to see what other things were on TV that evening.

But, I kept coming back, hoping to actually see a real debate on the issues, and learn a little bit on how the two stood on issues that matter to me.

I am sure hoping the next one, if they are able to have one, will be a lot better run than that first debate, which was a runaway train wreck.

Between the negative ads, disgusting debates, and endless answers that don’t match the questions, it is hard to keep up.

Confused yet? I know I am. Tired of it all yet? Yeah, I know. Me too.

But I did hear one refreshing comment this past week.

State legislature candidate Bjorn Olson was a speaker at a meeting I was at.

He, of course, was talking about himself, what he has done in his life, explaining why he is running for office and presenting his ideas and platform. But when he was asked about his opponent, Pat Bacon, he said he had talked with her and thought she was a fine person and if she were to get elected, she would represent the district well at the state capitol.

Bjorn, what is wrong with you? Haven’t you gotten a copy of the Politics 101 manual? You don’t get elected saying things like that.

Now, he did go on to say that he felt he was a little more qualified because he was a farmer, mayor, educator and soldier, so he was aware of many issues facing a variety of the people in the district.

Then I see an ad by Pat Bacon in this week’s Register and it is all about her ideas and why she should be elected. It doesn’t say anything negative about her opponent, Olson.

You know, I wish there was a little bit more of that kind of campaigning going on.

A lot more, actually.