She loved political trenches

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 25, 2010

When I think of politics, I think of an olive green trench coat, campaign cards and the crackle of a peppermint wrapper.

The rainbow of “Vote For’s” were always ready to be pulled from the pocket of my grandmother’s London Fog trench coat during the September and October months whenever an unsuspecting ballot caster happened by.

Local politics were her favorite. It wasn’t so much about who would be our next governor, it was about who was going to be our next sheriff or district 3 commissioner. Most of the time, it was both. Guess that trying criminals and dead people didn’t come into political play for her, as I don’t remember hearing her mention anything about district attorney or corner.

The side carport served as Gran’s political parlor. Its half-brick walls were used as stumping platforms as candidates sat and lobbied for her support.

Now, those lawn chairs and weekend visits have given away to billboards, Facebook messages, print ads and direct mail, and I think that’s sad.

There is a commitment both on sides of the campaign that need a personal touch and a strong reasoning behind the political tradition of “shaking hands and kissing babies.” One can tell a lot about a person by watching the way they interact with the general public and whether or not they pay attention to the person in front of them.

There’s a lot more to politics than party sides. In the local forum, my grandmother always said we vote for the person, not the party.

I would say she was correct, as it takes a great commitment to be a candidate, as does it to be a campaign supporter. It also takes a great commitment to be a voter.

Candidates assume a great burden, that is not only put on their family but also on their person.

The same can be said for the campaign supporter. I admire all who are devout in their convictions, even while I may not agree with their positions.

On the flip side, I think the voter holds the greatest responsibility in the political process.

Over the years, we as the public tend to grow apathetic about politics – that is to say, indifferent as those that hold the governing offices and make the decisions for our city, county, state and nation. To me, that is unacceptable.

“If you don’t like who’s in office, it’s your fault. You put them there, either by voting for them, voting against them or not voting at all,” she used to say. “Now, there’s only one way to change it – vote again.”

So I urge you, use the time between now and Election Day to make informed decisions on those you chose to lead our government.

Lord knows I’m trying to.

Who knows I might even pull out that green trench coat to cast my ballot.