In a recent column, I misidentified Jeanette Bosgra. Apologies.
Lots stood out about working the polls for one of our two local parties.
Maybe most remarkable was the man who said he had been a Democrat all his life but had to vote for Trump this time and the woman who said she had never voted for a Democrat in her life but could not support the current president.
We are living through strange times. I guess that’s a little like saying the sky is blue, but it bears repeating. We feel the earth shifting under our feet. The indelicate fact is that things are always changing. Although the change may be subtle, almost imperceptible, it keeps coming.
Change keeps coming.
But one thing needs saying. Politics has always been rough and tumble. When my daddy was appointed postmaster in Forest City, the local precinct of the Democratic Party endorsed his appointment. He was among the last of the politically appointed postmasters. At the precinct meeting, one of our neighbors called my daddy everything but a Christian. It was an unkind, hurtful attack.
Mama never got over it and cursed politics from that day forward calling it, “The dirtiest game in town.”
That was 1965.
In 1800, we saw the first truly dirty presidential campaign. When Thomas Jefferson took the office from John Adams, it was a ham-fisted brawl. Insults were flung like pies in a food fight. No holds were barred in letters, newspaper articles, political tracts of the period. Each candidate was demonized by supporters of his opponent.
Imagine this from a modern candidate, “While I agree with my opponent that this is a problem that needs fixing, I believe I can do the job well and get things done. Of course, my opponent probably can, too.”
This is likely the only place you will ever read such words.
While riots and other forms of violence have marred this year in U.S. History, we are, for the most part, peaceful people who believe that elections, and not riots or gunplay, should decide who runs our governments.
Of the more than 1,500 people who could see I was working for one of our local parties, only two chose to say hateful, hurtful things to me. When one of them walked away, Roger Short, who was working for the other team, came over and said to me, “He’s probably just repeating something he’s heard many times. He didn’t understand what he was saying.” There was a lot of grace in that; and Short is a great believer in grace. He can often be found at Matthew’s Gym on Oak Street in Forest City.
Jefferson said the price of liberty is eternal vigilance; and we need to be vigilant against any forces that would hurt our ability to hold elections, decide their outcomes and manage government to the benefit of the common good.
Half the people in this country don’t vote because many of them don’t believe government works for the common good. They see the harmful influences of the 35,000 lobbyists in Washington making a mockery of what Lincoln called, “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
We need to move forward with mutual respect and kindness. There was a lot of that in two days at the Spindale House.
Contact Pat Jobe at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is the minister of All Souls Community which can be found on Facebook and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Lake Norman.