Like many men, I'm not really one for shopping.
If I need a new shirt or pants, I go to the store, grab one and get home. I don't fiddle around much, I just find one I like and get out. And that's not to say I don't like choices or things that fit me well. I mean, if I went to a store and discovered only a rack of spandex lamé oxford shirts, I'd go elsewhere. If that works for you — awesome. Spandex lamé just isn't my bag of chips.
Perhaps voting and clothes shopping have something in common. You realize your current shirt has holes in it (or maybe it's just out of style), so you think about what you want and what would fit you well, go to the store and get it. Similarly, if your elected officials' terms are up, evaluate their performance, think about what you want and what would fit you well, go to the polling place and pick them.
With the recent Republican Presidential Primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire, we've seen plenty of choices, and each is nominally valid in their own right. Some are madras plaid, some are Polo shirts, some are flannel. All are fine, and some might fit you better than others. Still, you can go pick one out from a variety of others.
Back at home, we're a little threadbare.
So far, the City Council race has netted three new contestants, as well as two incumbents. Jason Roe is the sole contestant in the first ward, as Glenwood Einspahr is stepping down. In ward two, Jack Bell is facing off against the incumbent Henry Hurt, while over in ward three, Edward "Ned" Beach is the sole contestant. (Pete Soener has yet to apply for reelection.) Ward four has the incumbent Mark Livingston by himself.
The deadline for the April election is Jan. 17. That's less than a week away, mind you.
Each of these candidates are fine choices. (I'm not going so far to attach articles of clothing to them, but rest assured that none of them are Spandex lamé oxfords.) But it undermines the fruitfulness of democracy and ignores the tenants our government was founded on — we can pick who we want to lead us.
Some of these wards have just one hat in the ring. Who would bother to vote for a shoo-in? Can you blame prospective voters for not wanting to miss Law and Order to vote in an election that's already been decided? I can't, and that's a bit sad.
I'm reminded of the case of Jello Biafra, the punk rock musician who ran for mayor of San Francisco as a joke in 1979 and ended up placing fourth in the election. Really, anyone can sign up, build support for their cause and try their best to win. It's probably the one of the most patriotic things you can do.
Page 2 of 2 - If you have the time, commitment, dedication and know-how to make Boonville a better place, give running for office a shot. In the end, it's miles better than being stuck with an ill-fitting shirt for the next few years.