Vote like you mean it

Dave Bergmeier

As many High Plains readers know by listening to their radio or watching television the air is filled with the unmistakable sounds of scoundrels, hoodlums and thieves. That may be the best way to sum up some of the campaign advertisements we all have to brace ourselves for—regardless of the time of day—and they are relentless.

All of that is part of contested races during the primary season. Wait. Another election cycle is ahead this fall and no doubt the presidential campaign is going to generate record amounts of mud. Operatives will be happy if some of it sticks and makes us doubt the legitimacy of the campaign.

Do not buy into presumptive descriptions of these “rascals.”

Each election, whether a primary or general, offers each High Plains voter an opportunity to cast a ballot to ensure a qualified candidate understands rural agriculture and quality of life. The candidate needs to have high morals and integrity. In these election cycles of the modern times it seems like negative campaigns distort that view and paint a darker picture that makes the dog-catcher look like a more viable candidate.

Once again, don’t buy into the nasty rhetoric. Take the time to get to know each candidate. COVID-19 unfortunately has impacted organizers as they are forced to scuttle or reduce the capacity of live events where a voter can see the mannerisms of a candidate and see how he or she reacts to tough questions. The cancellation of public fairs also prevents rural families from being able to interact with candidates.

Opportunities are available. They include talking with your neighbors, watching video presentations, visiting with campaign staff or calling a candidate on the phone. The top candidates will always return phone calls, even if there are significant disagreements in viewpoints, because that is an important way to find out if candidate cares about good public policy.

A word of advice: Do not put all your eggs in one basket. A personal favorite might not win and major upsets occur. That is the beauty of the election process. Your neighbor may openly say who he or she is supporting in advance of an election and yet when it comes time to pull the trigger he or she goes with “the other candidate.”

Your job as a voter is to scout in advance much like when you are checking the cattle, the wheat, soybean or corn crop. The questions about views are germane to each race and the level of appropriateness. A candidate offering a lengthy diatribe on an issue that is not germane to the policy he or she may introduce or oversee is likely pandering. Always thank each candidate who is seeking office, regardless of political affiliation, because the commitment to run is time consuming.

Each election cycle provides an opportunity for each of us to learn from one another and that is the big picture. Take the time to cast your ballot.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].