Terre Haute Election, November 2014. illustration: Sasha-K; photo: Lucinda Berry
Election day is upon us – and it’s both our duty and privilege to vote, or so we’ve always been told. Unfortunately, it seems harder every year to get a good idea of what to base that vote on. We’re mostly confronted with fear-mongering messages. Did you get the postcard about how Tim Skinner and President Obama put out a welcome mat for terrorists in Terre Haute?
Oh, hold on, it’s actually about the 2009 plan to move inmates from Guantanamo Bay that was scuttled almost as soon as it was proposed.
You know, Terre Haute was thrilled to have the federal penitentiary sited in our back yard decades ago. Perhaps it had something to do with jobs. And perhaps we ought to assume that our neighbors working there would have the training to handle any inmates they’re given charge of.
“Don’t let Tim Skinner threaten our homeland” is the whacked out Republican propaganda. No doubt the Democrats also did some finger pointing and made accusations of guilt by association. That’s how it is when you’ve got the limitations of a two-party system. We’ve always liked the principle of voting for the man – or woman – not the party. That concept seems in vogue around town: most yard signs for the Terre Haute election don’t even mention whether the touted candidate is a Republican or a Democrat.
Most of the signs we’ve seen are for school board. At least two of the candidates have been given an apple, one of those also makes it look as he if has A+, but the way grades are inflated these days, that’s almost meaningless. Apparently, being on the school board is prestigious enough that one of the candidates has spent a good bit of money on billboards. Her name at a glance bears a resemblance to “alphabetical.” Maybe she’s won in the past because of some kind of subliminal association with that school and blackboard related word.
Voting based on a name might not be the worst strategy voters could use – sometimes it pays off in horse races. We’ve got a “Lucky” running for judge, and “Champ” for commissioner. Both would sound fine along with “Duke.” We’d love to see a requirement that all municipal candidates have a nickname. Admit it, you’d be happier backing Glenn “Bruiser” Purnell than just plain Glenn.
While we’re taking a crack at campaign reform, we’ll also look into a penalty for candidates who plagiarize their slogans. Sorry, but “Ford Means Business” has already been used. By the company Henry built. If you can’t come up with an original idea for your sign, how can we trust you to come up with a new fiscal policy that will bring business to the state?
Along the same line of re-usage, we have at least one long-term public servant trying to repurpose himself: Jon Marvel for Commissioner, not sheriff. Likely he’ll win based on name recognition.
Hmm, maybe that voting based on name idea we mentioned earlier needs clarification. We were talking about first names and nicknames, but come to think about it what we’d really like to have is new names, new faces and new ideas.