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When I typed the date on this column I realized how close we are to the end of another year! Thanksgiving is now past, and our eyes are on Christmas and then on New Year’s. When I think of all that has happened in my life this year I can’t believe it has gone by so fast. Part of my mind is still in last January. But, that’s a story for another day.
As my mind starts to go into 2022 it goes directly to the importance of the election cycle we will be in – both locally and nationally. Most of you are thinking about gifts and parties, family and decorations. I do celebrate Jesus’ birthday, but I am also watching the things playing out around me when few are paying attention to business. Just call me strange.
So, bear with me this week and file my thoughts in your memory bank for later use. Elections have enormous consequences. I’m sure I have mentioned that numerous times in the past! But we are experiencing some pretty dire consequences from the last national election when most votes were cast on personalities only – not actual job performance or the ability to follow through on promises made. I remember voting for Bill Clinton because he played a saxophone on the “Tonight Show!” I loved sax players! Boy, was that a bad move, but I wasn’t paying attention to politics or the ramifications of votes back then.
Now, I look at the qualifications, past voting history, actual experience, their stand on the important issues, and compare candidates on those things. I firmly believe in term limits for every elected office, and I think every incumbent should have a primary challenger. While I am beginning to see many incumbents say they will term limit themselves, I am also seeing some of them actually do it! But, until the entire system is changed to a level playing field, electing inexperienced people to replace a seasoned veteran can have it’s disadvantages.
First, it takes a while for a new person to even understand the job and how it really works – it’s not the same as looking at it from the outside. When talking about a national election I’ve always said it takes at least a year for a new U.S. representative or senator to find the bathrooms in the U.S. Capitol! Second, unless they are well versed in “Robert’s Rules of Order” and the operation of government entities they are in an intense learning curve to understand the process.
But, if the incumbent is not doing a good job, sometimes we the voters don’t have a choice. That’s where a challenger can serve a huge purpose. An incumbent should always have to justify their promises made / promises kept, their votes on the important issues and what they have done to improve the lives of their constituents.
One of the problems comes when the voters forget the negatives and are only reminded of the good things a politician has done. Let’s just think right now about where our economy is today versus two years ago. Let’s think about our gas prices here in Alabama today versus before the gas tax increase. Politicians count on us to forget – and that is where an opponent can ask questions to help us remember.
As you continue to read the articles about the exploits of our County Commission, please understand that it is up to YOU to start doing your research now because all of them are up for election next year. The best way to research is to attend the meetings and see them in action. Last week’s evening meeting was very well attended and, I think, was handled in a more civilized manner because of that crowd being there. I know the attendees got an eye and ear full!
The next meeting will be at 9:30 a.m. in a couple of weeks on Tuesday, December 14, at the Courthouse in Rockford. If you work, come to the evening meetings; if you are retired or otherwise unemployed, come to the morning meetings. There is something for EVERYONE!
I do want to thank Buzzy for the shout out a couple of weeks ago! He/She is watching us and the County Commission. When the vultures are circling, we need to take notice!
So, as you go about the rest of your holiday season buying gifts, traveling, grocery shopping, and cooking, please think about the impact politics is having on your ability or inability to completely enjoy yourself. Politics affects everything and everyone in some manner. Get ready!