As an editor of a small weekly in a small town, especially during the silly season of state and national election campaigns, I’m asked frequently, by a staffer, on a phone call, if I’d like to meet and talk to the candidate.
I delight in saying, “No.” After the silence, if the staffer presses the issue and asks why, I respond by saying that candidates at that level have little clue as to how their election will affect us locally.
Generally, the campaign goes away with a photo of the candidate in our newspaper, proof that they’ve visited our burg, and a caption that nails down the date and place, and, if applicable, the size of those attending the event.
I say “us” with good reason. I’m part of the community, and I’ve seen the results of poorly conceived state and national policies that are inflicted on localities. I’ve also seen the results of well-conceived policies, but usually the candidate is running against those established ideas, one biggie being the idea of taxation.
Why is that such a hard idea to swallow? Running governments costs dollars. Those dollars come from taxes. Let’s talk about how that shakes out a local level, shall we?
I’d much rather attend the meetings of our school board, our city council, our hospital trustees, our county supervisors. That’s where the ramifications of state and national policies come home to roost.
So, give me a candidate who will spend a week in our community, or staffers who will do that on his or her stead. Better yet, give me a community that is not afraid to address its candidates with a certain level of lack of awe, giving them a dose of what it’s like living under present policies.
It probably won’t happen, but there’s no law against dreaming.