On Saturday, Joan and I traveled to Canton to attend the monthly breakfast of the Cherokee County Republican Party where announced candidates for a number of public offices, local and statewide, introduced themselves and began their 2014 campaign with brief comments. On the way home I said to Joan, “Now let the politics begin ...”
With qualifying for office now closed, Georgia’s political season has begun. But how many know who the candidates are? Very few, if any, know all the candidates. That is what the primary season is for, for the candidates to make themselves known to the voters and for the voters to vet the candidates to find the candidate who will best represent their political beliefs.
On Saturday morning, we heard from, and met, candidates running for the U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, Georgia Public Service Commission, Cherokee County commission, solicitor general, local judges and school board members. America’s form of government “of the people, by the people and for the people” will survive only if the voters accept their responsibility and make the effort to choose the candidate best qualified for the office in question.
The primary season is the time for voters to prepare themselves to vote intelligently, by taking the time to find those candidates who are well qualified to represent them and their neighbors. But what do we look for in a candidate?
Jethro, in Exodus 18:20-22, suggested a proven method. First he told Moses to choose leaders who knew the laws and ordinances with these words: “And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.”
Second qualification was that he should: “provide (leaders) out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee.”
No wonder America’s founders were inspired by these scriptures. They are the perfect model for a near perfectly organized government of the people, with the supreme judge of the world having the final say on matters too difficult for the people to resolve.
There is yet another scripture that seems appropriate as we prepare to elect our leaders. That scripture, found in John 8:32, reads: “And the truth shall make you free.” Now, during this primary vetting season, is the time to find the “truth” about each candidate. Remember what happened when America elected Obama in November 2008.
America has learned the sad “truth” that Obama had an agenda that was 180 degrees opposite that from his “Hope and Change” campaign theme.
But, one asks, where can we learn more about the candidates? There are a number of ways to learn about each candidate. Begin by reading the Tribune. It does a fine job of informing voters of who is running and will, shortly before the primary, have a special section naming the candidates with their answers to pertinent questions that affect our local and state community.
Another way is to attend forum meetings. On April 25, all four candidates for governor will debate at the Cherokee County Conventions Center. Attend.
Another way is to Google “voteforfreedom2014.” It will be up and running by April 1 and will list all the local and statewide candidates running for public office along with their web site address and a phone number where the voter can call and ask leading questions.
But here in Cherokee County, voters seem to be satisfied with many of their elected leaders—with the exception of the four contested school board seats; the County Commission chair; two commission seats, and State House District 22, each with two or more candidates announced.
America’s freedoms are in the hands of America’s voters in 2014, especially in Washington, D.C. Now is the time to get to know the candidates and thank them for running. Believe it not they are human beings and it takes courage to run for public office with little fanfare for those who run and lose.
Now let the politics really begin — politics are America’s governing Olympics.
Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.