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Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

All Politics is...confusing

Posted Monday, October 15, 2012, at 9:21 AM

"All politics is local." (former U.S. Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill)

An election is coming up, as you may have heard. Being a Presidential year there's a lot of interest. For the most part I've decided what I think about the well-known, best-hyped offices. Like most Americans, my votes will be based on whom I like; or, more to the point, whom I do not like (or, falling back to voter's last resort, voting for the least un-qualified). These to me are very bad criterions by which a nation elects folk, but it is what it is.

The problem comes with the offices about which little is said, whose candidates are not news-worthy, and who don't raise enough money to teach us "average citizens" who it is we're supposed to hate. One does get the impression that being born and reared in Indiana in the late 1880s would make local politics less confusing. But I wasn't, and it is.

Given my confessed confusion about what District I live in, went to the Court House and got the gentlemen of the Elections Office to print out a sample ballot for Precinct 01-Brazil. Turns out there are a bunch of offices we're supposed to vote on for which I don't see anybody I like and nobody has taught me who to hate. To add insult to injury, I'm not sure why we vote on some of them at all.

In Indiana we actually elect an Attorney General and Superintendent of Public Instruction. Anybody know why? Shouldn't these offices, at very least, be Cabinet appointments? Only one of the names of the four presented is the least bit familiar; but why would a 1950s era singer want to be elected to anything? (Of course Kay Fleming might be related to 1940s actress Rhonda Fleming, but Rhonda was WAY before my time!)

Indiana is the first state I've lived in that has partisan elections of Judges. That is neither criticism nor critique, just confusion. Confusion compounded by the end of the ballot there are four non-partisan Judgeships. We're supposed to say whether or not they should be "retained in office." Who are these people, did they do something bad that I ought to be holding against them and vote out of office?

Then we have the county level voting. I will overlook the question as to why we don't just hire a qualified Surveyor and Coroner like they do other places, and County Recorder is almost always an elected office. But, which is worse: Not knowing anything about the candidates or voting the Party line because you always vote the Party line?

Why we have both Council members and Commissioners has been explained to me several times. Maybe I'll understand the next explanation. The only one I'd know on sight is Charlie Brown -- who is not near the big man I met some 15 years back.

School Board of Trustees non-partisan offices, this is important. I know grandkids in those schools! Not having a Party to pick from, and not knowing or liking or hating either, I'll have to break down and find out what they are about. You suppose that should be the right criteria?



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My view from the back pew
David L. Lewis
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