Let me get this out of the way right now: At this point in the election season, I’m absolutely over politics, politicians and all the stuff associated with this year’s general election.
Already this morning I’ve been asked how I’m doing several times, and each time I’ve delivered the following reply: “Sick of politics.”
And this year’s election has been one for the record books.
From early voting numbers that are higher than I ever imagined to the in-fighting and backbiting that often accompanies the American political process, this election has certainly kept political writers flush with copy. And headaches.
In addition, there was the increased local coverage required by the death of Sen. Don East, which resulted in a bit of he said-she said and confusion both in the Republican Party and here at the paragraph factory.
Which is understandable, since after (quite a bit) more than a decade of writing about government and politics, the process for replacing East on the ballot was something I’d never encountered.
So stick a fork in me. I’m done with it.
But with that being said, this year’s election season also resulted in a demonstration of democracy in action in its purest form.
While sick of the fact that today’s political machine precludes any factual statements from any candidate (or any factual information, for that matter), what I witnessed Sunday afternoon at Republican Headquarters at least breathed a little sunshine into this jaded reporter’s soul.
I’m talking, of course, about the nomination of Shirley Randleman to replace East on the ticket. Well, not the nomination itself, rather the process involved in said nomination.
It was something every student in civics class should witness.
It involved strict guidelines and a little bit of math to “weight” votes according to the number of registered Republicans in each county, but the process itself was inspiring.
More than 50 delegates representing Wilkes, Stokes and Surry counties came together for the nomination, which was overseen by the executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party.
They gathered, nominated East’s ballot replacement from the floor, and cast their votes. If a clear winner wasn’t named, the lowest vote-getter was eliminated and the process began anew.
Sitting there in the room and watching the votes take place, it was easy to forget the importance of the process.
While the delegates laughed, joked and sipped on sodas as state Republican officials tallied the votes, it was almost lost on me that these regular citizens were choosing someone who could very easily change the course of the state’s history.
But that is our political process, and such a breath of fresh air went a long way toward helping me keep my lunch down in the face of all the negative campaigning and partisan maneuvering these days.
Now, lets get this election over with so perhaps I can get some rest.
Keith Strange is a staff reporter at The Mount Airy News. He can be reached at email@example.com or 719-1929.