Then, Cherokee experienced the same growth spurt that many other places in the South experienced. With the influx of new communities came a wave of Republican voters. We now live in a time when a Democratic candidate would have a hard time getting elected in our county.
I am relatively sure that all of the Southern Democrats didn’t magically change their morals and values to become Republicans. No. They changed parties because it was the only way to get elected and make a difference. Those that refused to make the change have suffered politically because of their choice.
The reason I mentioned morals and values is that most everyone who has been here for the last 50 years would agree the morals and values were pretty solid back then. They were at a minimum as solid as they are today. And that is being very generous to many of us today.
Speaking as a political novice, many associate Republicans with being conservative and with Democrats being more liberal. There is more to it than that. But that is what a novice like me is led to believe through the media. And I am sure there is validity to that perception.
I would hope that no one judged someone’s character based solely on their political affiliation. Political party affiliation does not define who someone is. But if that is the only thing someone is remembered for, they lived a sad existence.
I make this statement as a registered and voting Republican. I am as fiscally conservative as most everyone I know. On social issues, I am less conservative. That means absolutely nothing in the big scheme of things. Because it has absolutely zero with who I am as a father, brother or a son.
There are many that join themselves to their party of choice. I am all for that because many men and women have died for our freedom of choice.
Some politicians are treated like royalty. Some are treated like rock stars. But the real heroes are those men and women of the military that provide the very freedoms we often take for granted.
Elected officials, political activists, and any citizen that shows an interest in politics has a responsibility to our youth to set an example on how we should conduct ourselves in the political arena. Unfortunately, from Washington, D.C., to Cherokee County, this isn’t the case.
The infighting isn’t only between the major parties. It is now as common inside the same party. The parties don’t have time to fight each other. They are too busy trying to destroy their own.
Many political discussions today are no longer centered on the issues that we should be facing together. Discussions are now more centered on destroying the lives of political adversaries through whatever means necessary. The truth no longer matters. Facts no longer matter. It’s about how much hurt can be placed on the opponent.
As I write this, I can only imagine that the brave men and women that gave their life for our freedoms did not have this behavior in mind as they drew their last breath.
Because of their sacrifice, we live in the greatest country on the planet. Wouldn’t it be great if we behaved like it?
I can respect anyone that chooses to be in politics. At the same time, I feel sorry for them. If you knowingly enter the political arena, you can bet that some will not attack your stance on the issues. That would be boring. They will, however, attack your character.
There are two possible reasons for this. First and foremost, they are just mean people. Secondly, they really don’t understand the real issues well enough to discuss them in a professional and adult manner. Either way, it can’t be justified.
I hope you all go to the polls, as I am, and let your voice be heard. Personally, I won’t be negatively persuaded by hateful rhetoric. But I will be positively persuaded by it by voting for those that are attacked on their character instead of their political ideals.
If for no other reason, I will do it out of respect for the military men and women that paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.