As we rapidly approach another 4 of July celebration and yet another election year, I can’t help but wonder what our founding fathers would have thought about our current method of getting to know our candidates for some of the most important offices in government. Each day a new commercial shows up on our televisions with a different proposal of just how conservative government should be administered. If the television commercials are not enough to fill your viewing pleasure, then you can go to numerous web sites that will give you even more information on how tight we should run the government ship. No new taxes, less Washington interference, cut government spending and reform anything that has a tax on it are just a few of the things that are getting attention this year as we move closer to primary day voting August 5, 2010.
Over ten years ago, I wrote a column giving my thoughts on what I would say to a crowd of voters if I were going to run for public office. I even had some folks contact me after the column appeared urging me to run, but that was not in my plans at that time. I admire people who do take the challenge to seek public office and give of their time to do so. In today’s political warfare a person puts a lot on the line when they put their name out to be elected by the people. Untruths, family attacks, misquotes and simple plain old meanness happens in our elections that causes a lot of good people to decide they can do without having their lives put under the political microscope. And, that seems to be one of our problems these days when we go looking for candidates.
In that column, I mentioned what I look for in a good candidate. I was born in a log house on a frosty October morning. It wasn’t a cabin, but it was a log structure and that seems to have worked for the man in the stovepipe hat back in 1861. I never split rails, but I have picked cotton, cut tobacco, always got selected to pick the down-rows of corn, and built fences out of locust poles. All of these events built character and patience, which I believe a good candidate should have.
I grew up without running water. By not having running water you soon learned the lesson of conservation. I learned how to take a bath with just a teakettle of hot water and to save enough for the next member of the family who needed a bath. A good candidate, who doesn’t know how to take a “washpan” bath with Ivory soap, should not be elected. Many of our candidates today call themselves conservative. I question that of many of them. A conservative is one who can make an entire bucket of water last in a family of five from sundown to sunup with enough in the morning left to make coffee.
I grew up knowing what a cold dipper of water from a good well tasted like. There is nothing any better on a hot summer day than a fresh bucket of water and a white, enamel dipper with a red ring as your drinking utensil. Having to drink out of a dipper in a family of five soon teaches you to share, and to be thankful for the small things in life. You also learn that the last little bit of water left in the bucket at the end of the day is not that great. This teaches you that if you want to make it better, it is up to you. Either go get another bucket of water or do without. A good candidate should be able to make things better and try to keep the bucket at least half full.
I had a loving family. There were five of us who lived in one small house, and we children never knew what our financial standing was. It didn’t matter. We had a mother and father who loved us and provided everything we needed. Not what we wanted, but what we needed. We were taught right from wrong, how to work, taken to church, and learned very early that the family was number one. We were taught from the very beginning to help your community, church, and others.
I still believe in what I said from that column I wrote way back then. Also, in that column, I said I voted for people I would like to have as my next-door neighbor. That really puts the qualifications up there pretty high.