Whew - Its over!
Certainly, my emblematic sigh of relief is indicative of more than a few million citizens ecstatic over the end of the election. Our commander-in-chief President Barack Obama will reign again for the next four years. And for better or worse - depending on whom you voted for - we celebrate the majority's decision and move on.
This revelation made me ponder our local elections and how people came to their conclusions in the voting booth. There's always a lot of speculation but what I hear most often is we vote for whom we know. I suppose voting for a particular candidate because we know them personally is inherent by nature - whether or not it is a good characteristic in this case is debatable.
I am befuddled by people who run for a particular position - say a school board seat - claiming knowledge of the position and making promises to do this or do once elected, but never set foot in a meeting. How does a candidate claim for example to reopen schools, which would require spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, when there is no money in the coffers to begin with?
And speaking of the school board: during an October meeting of the Board of Trustees, member James Darby made a request to "go on record" to convert D.P. Cooper to a charter school. I may not be the brightest bulb in the room but I have no idea what he meant by going on record. I assumed he wished to see the school change its status.
That's all fine and dandy, except Mr. Darby overlooked one detail: creating a charter school demands executing a strenuous legal process. His request prompted the board to engage in discussion - to which it was agreed upon and a motion was made to initiate the legal process.
That's all fine and dandy too, except when the board voted, Mr. Darby opposed the motion. In essence, he voted against his own request. And this isn't the first time Mr. Darby has distinguished himself as a high ranking member of the numbskull society.
Did it cross any board member's mind to mention to Mr. Darby that he just voted against the very thing he wished for? And is it the board's responsibility to do so? I have to wonder if Mr. Darby's constituents were aware of his vacillating nature. I say that in the past tense because he is no longer a member, having relinquished his District 3 seat to son Alfred Darby who ran against 11 write-ins. Lets hope in this instance the nut didn't fall close to the tree.
Another race that will see a new face is the Clerk of Court. I can only imagine what it must have been like having two candidates running for their boss' position under one roof, so to speak. I bet you couldn't cut the tension with a Ginsu knife. It must have been equally hard when the one you endorsed did not win. Such an awful let-down has driven bosses to do things they later regretted.
Yes, the elections are over but that doesn't mean we can rest on our laurels. Before the next election rolls around, be prepared. Ask the candidate what qualifies them for the position. Ask them if they have ever attended a school board or County Council meeting. If they say no (which may require a lie detector test), then the gray matter we call a brain should reasonably deduce the qualifications of said candidate.
As we watch our administration address an exploding 16 trillion national debt, anticipate further internal investigations, point to inevitable tax increases, and confront at least a dozen groups planning our complete and utter demise - all while teetering on the edge of a crumbling fiscal cliff - I recall a verse from "Are the Good Times Really Over" by Merle Haggard who sings "Are we rolling downhill like a snowball headed for hell with no chance for the flag and the Liberty Bell." Haggard ends the song on a positive note: "The best of the free life is still yet to come and the good times aint over for good." Well, Mr. Haggard, we can only wait and see.