Thursday, November 8, 2007
By the time you read this, we will likely know the election winners.
Some members of The South Reporter staff, including yours truly, were up late Tuesday night and likely into Wednesday morning getting the latest results we possibly could in our county and district races.
I’ve been through many Mississippi elections since moving here in 1986 – some in Itawamba County, some in Marshall County and one in Jones County.
Those in Itawamba County in the late ’80s were really fun. That’s when political rallies were still big. Large crowds turned out for the speakings, held on weekends at various small communities throughout the county.
The food and fellowship were great, but folks actually listened to the candidates then, too.
The popularity of political speakings in our counties has dwindled drastically. I’ve noticed it in Marshall County, and other newspaper friends in other counties have noticed it, too.
Can that be attributed to a lack of interest in who is running and who is going to be elected to represent us? I hope not.
Maybe we’re all just too busy - much busier than 10, 15 or 20 years ago. But that’s no excuse.
We also had big election parties on election night in Fulton when I was working at the newspaper. We blocked off the side street beside the office, ran back and forth to the nearby courthouse and posted the latest tallies on a chalkboard.
It made for long nights, but it was exciting and fun. Technology has changed all of that – and mostly for the better.
I recall some really interesting races in Monroe County a few years back – one which actually ended in a tie until the absentee and affidavit ballots were counted.
Some here in Marshall County were predicting a few close races this past Tuesday, but hopefully no ties.
And while I miss the old chalkboard, I prefer the computers and the opportunity our staff has of getting the results earlier in the night. It helps to likely get complete but unofficial results by press-time. And, of course, thanks to such technology, we are able to simply e-mail our finished pages to The Oxford Eagle for printing.
Each election is different, but I don’t think I’ve ever been through one like I’ve experienced this time in Marshall County.
I’ve been called a Democrat. I’ve been called a Republican.
I’ve even been threatened.
And when I tell them I’ve never favored a particular political party but always voted based on the person himself or herself, I’m still not sure some of those die-hard Republicans or Democrats believe me.
I’ve been told the newspaper has been unfair.
I can assure you we strive for fairness, but like I told one of my enemies – we’re not perfect.
Thanks to all the candidates and congratulations to the winners. I know you’ve sacrificed a lot to run for political office.
I told my wife once that when I finish this wild and crazy newspaper work, “I think I will get into politics.”
I think she was a bit stunned at first. But then, as usual, she encouraged me.
“I think you’d be good at it,” she said.
Quite frankly, after seeing some of the things I’ve seen during this election and hearing some of the things I’ve heard, I don’t think politics will be in my future.
I’d be much better off continuing my hard-working, honest attempt at putting out the best community newspaper possible with the best staff I believe any publisher could have anywhere.
Special thanks to the person who told me last week via telephone that The South Reporter crew is doing a great job of putting out a newspaper that covers the entire community in a positive manner. People like that lift our spirits, and we appreciate it.
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