Rushville Republican

October 17, 2012

Voting now and then

Bill Ward
Rushville Republican

RUSHVILLE — I was home this week from my job at the school. Seems that New Castle is out for the week so we are too, even if we do not want to be. So I have had more time to watch television and think of the good old times. First off, it is most evident that it is political season. On one evening program that is well watched I counted over 11 political ads in one half hour period. And of that 11, one commercial break accounted for five of the ads.

Each ad I see I know is expensive to air and cannot help but think about how much it would be appreciated by some of the unemployed or desperately ill.

In my youth, politics were much more civil and involved. Not everyone voted then or now, but I feel the general population had much more of a grasp of the situation than now.

I hate each side calling the others liars, cheats or worse. Funny thing is both sides are exactly what they say the other guy is. I frankly have a difficult time believing much of what either side says. Politics was much more genteel in my youth. Then as now Rush County was heavily Republican and as now few Democrats bothered to run in the General Election.

Dad was a tried and true Republican and his best friend was a Democrat. I doubt if Dad had ever voted for a Democrat and now his best friend was running on the Democrat ticket for mayor of Rushville. Dad was happy with the Republican Primary because there were, at times anyway, a contest - but not always. But now what was he to do? I know Dad suffered mightily over his decision, but he finally allowed friendship above party and he loudly and long told us he voted Democrat (but don’t think that will happen again).

While I was in the Army in Germany a General Election came about. Of course, as with most things in the Army they did their best to make you want to vote, if for no other reason than to make them look good in the eyes of the politicians. We even had an election officer whose sole job was to get us to and help us to vote. I had voted several times before in civilian life and had all intentions to do so again this time around. However, I did not realize just how much of a hassle I was in for. I filled out the form requesting a ballot for Indiana, Rush County and City of Rushville. This had to be done at least three months ahead of time and sooner if possible. I had to prove I was indeed a citizen of Indiana even though I was in Germany. I had to show I was also a citizen of Rush County and Rushville and was over 21 years old at the time. Yes, it was a long time ago because you had to be 21, not 18, to vote.

I filled out a three page form under the supervision of my First Sergeant, Company Clerk, and Election Officer. Then I had it notarized, why I do not know because of all I had to go through to just get where I was. The form was sent back to the states and I have no idea what happened after that. About six weeks later I received a letter from the State of Indiana with yet another form asking for me to fill it out and return it within a specified time period. So I settled down, filled out the two page form, again had the Company Commander, Election Officer and my section Sergeant sign that, yes, I was in Germany and yes, I was to all purposes a citizen of Indiana.

By this time I was getting slightly ticked off over all the Mickey Mouse of even getting a ballot. Finally I did get a ballot with all the areas I needed to vote in on it. Of course, I had only a three day period to fill it out, get (again) several signatures other than mine on it and a notary, then get it back to Indiana before the time limit ran out. I went through all this stuff once again, filled it out, got it signed and gave it to the Election Officer to be sure it got back to Indianapolis in time. I have no idea if it did or not. I don’t believe that out of the 280 members of Headquarters and Headquarters Battery 3rd Infantry Division Artillery voted, and I can see why. If nothing else, I had tried and did my best to vote as I have in every election since.

Another political story was when I attended college in Silver City, N.M. All I had to do to get in-state tuition was to register to vote. So, seeing as how it would take almost ¾ of the cost off I headed down to the Grant County Court House to register. Grant County was heavily Democratic and in New Mexico it seems politics was played with vim and vigor. I went to the Recorder’s office as I was told to register. The lady who helped me was something else. First off, she did not ask me if I was a Republican or Democrat, she just gave me a Democrat form. Just because she did I wanted a Republican, not Democrat, form. She told me Republicans never won any elections in Grant County and seldom even worried about having candidates. I heard all kinds of reasons I should be what she wanted me to be, not what I wanted to be. Anyway, after an hour or so she finally and very reluctantly gave in and I got what I wanted. I found out it was true the Democrats usually always won county elections. But in city elections that were non partisan as much as can be almost always went Republican. I guess as long as it did not say Republican things were fine.

This year we have an election and it is much easier to vote than during that time. So, go out, vote, and vote your feelings not the party line. Look at the candidate and their attitudes and do what you feel is correct.