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Reflecting on the election
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Now that the dust has settled from our recent Dawson County election, I would like to offer some reflections on the various candidates' campaigns - reflections on the good, the bad and the ugly campaign tactics and strategies.

The good: We were most impressed by three candidates who cared enough to walk in the sweltering heat and knock on our door and share their thoughts and vision with us.

In the ministry there is a saying: "A bell ringin' pastor makes a church goin' people."

The same is true in politics. There is no substitute for a personal visit. We would also hope that future campaigns would provide more public forums and other opportunities for the people to learn about the candidates face-to-face.

Local newspapers and organizations could be much more pro-active during political campaigns.

The bad: In a county of 24,000 people only 40 percent of eligible voters bothered to vote.

That leaves 60 percent of the voters who now have no right to complain if they are not pleased with their elected officials.

All eligible voters - be sure to vote in the next election. All candidates also understand, voter non-participation is a sign of voter apathy, anger, cynicism and hopelessness. Give us candidates who will inspire us.

The ugly: The hundreds of excessive roadside political signs were, once again, a blight on the landscape of our county. Do they really believe that 10 identical signs, often on county right-of-way, in 100 yards of road will make me 10 times more likely to vote for this candidate?

There ought to be a change to a sign ordinance that allows such nonsense.

For me, the number of political roadside signs is inversely related to my willingness to vote for the offending candidate.

My suggestion, a $10 penalty for every campaign sign placed on county property and another $10 if it's still there two days after the election. Just think, the county would become solvent overnight.

The uglier: Automated political phone calls at dinnertime, or any time. No family time, no personal moment is now out of the reach of robocalls.

Do any of the candidates actually believe that these calls are effective? Don't they know that we get angry and hang up immediately?

Dear candidates, if you want to lose an election, pour on the robocalls. Such calls are only a testimony to your hubris and insensitivity.

However, I was impressed that both Newt Gingrich and Sara Palin cared enough to call me personally.

The ugliest: Candidates' public and private attacks on other candidates. In conversations, speeches and ads, the attempts to build up the self by tearing others down has sickened and disgusted the American voter. By subtle innuendo or open attack, often by libel and slander, such a candidate only reveals his dark side, his bankrupt agenda and his inability to truly lead a county or a nation for that matter.

Russell Church Burchard
Dawson County Planning Commissioner