Anatomy of an (authentic) American political campaign

Follow the 96-day evolution of a grass roots political campaign as an All-American rural community fights back against the political manipulation of their town board's election.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Day Sixty Eight

My door to door campaign is pretty interesting these days as I am canvassing the voting district of the Democratic incumbent/endorsed candidate.

I’ve been unsure of what to expect from voters in this district for two reasons. The first obviously being the fact that many consider the area to be the realm of the incumbent. The other reason however is much more personal, and it relates to a newspaper column that I wrote two years ago about the pastor of the Catholic Church in the district.

At the time I was a parishioner of the Church. The column I wrote concerned an action taken by the pastor directly against my husband and me. I was blunt and openly critical in my essay and as a result, I caused a public stir that lasted for almost two months. After writing the column, I never returned to the Church and so as I approach each house in this district I wonder if I might be in for a long awaited tongue lashing on the subject.

So far, all has gone smoothly. As in the other districts, people have been kind and welcoming. In fact, at my last house tonight, I had the pleasure of meeting a man who claims to have launched the Democratic incumbent’s political career. He’s a ninety plus year old retired farmer who I just happened to catch as he leaving for his regular euchre game at the local sportsman’s club just down the road from his house.

As I introduced myself and explained why I was at his back door, he immediately asked if I was running against the incumbent. To which I gave the answer that I offer anyone who asks that question, that I am not running against anyone, rather I am running for the residents of the Town.

That answer seemed to please him and we spent the next ten minutes talking about the town, and his family and some of his remarkable memories of the community. I enjoyed listening to his stories and I was glad that I caught him before he left for his euchre game.

As I said goody-bye, he wished me luck and said he would vote for me---after his favored incumbent, of course!

I finished up the night at the Town Board Meeting. My friend, who is running as the endorsed Republican Candidate, and I met there. We sat together. I think people aren’t unsure what to think of our collaborative effort in this campaign. But no matter, at least one of us is going to be elected and so we figure we have little to loose by supporting each other whenever and how ever we can.

The town meeting was short and concise. The Supervisor was out of town so the Deputy Supervisor, who just happens to be the Democratic Candidate running for office, presided. She did an effective job. My only issue with the meeting was that a question raised by a woman (also known as the Town Gadfly) was really not answered. And it was the second time in as many meetings that the question was raised and fundamentally ignored.

For my nickel, that’s the kind of blatant disregard for voters that gets government officials in trouble. I don’t care whether the problem or concern seems important to those governing or not. If a citizen asks a question of their elected official, then their role as a public servant requires an answer.

Ignoring the constituent is not my idea of an answer.
 
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