Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Failure to Communicate

Occasionally, I get e-mails that just entertain the heck out of me and leave me laughing my tail off. Sometimes this happens because the e-mail is humorous. At other times, it's obvious that the writer(s) have no idea what the heck they are talking about. Back on October 20, 2012, I received one such e-mail, a newsletter from the Wilson Co. (TN) Tea Party (WCTP), that was of the latter variety. It was their "October 2012 Mini-Newletter." You can read the entire document by clicking here.

It was actually just a section of the newsletter that "entertained" me tremendously. It is the section near the end titled "Unmasking the Voting Records of the Local 'Independent' Candidates," and it reads as follows :

Unmasking the Voting Records of the Local "Independent" Candidates

With some amusement, we have noticed that the local candidates, when declaring their "party affiliation" ... call themselves Independents. Upon checking their voting records, which is public record, this is what we found...

County Comission District 2

1.     Terry Duncan - Votes Republican  (No treasurer listed .. probably himself)
2.     Richard Moses - Votes Republican  (He lists himself as the treasurer.)

Lebanon Special School Board member

1.     Steve Jones - Votes Democrat (No information on Treasurer)
2.     Johnie Payton - Votes Democrat most of the time, but voted Republican in 1998. (No information on treasurer)
Mayor of City of Lebanon

1.   * Philip E. Craighead - Votes:  8-2006 Democrat;  2-2008: Republican;  8-2008: Republican;  8-2010 Democrat;  3-2012: Republican (Treasurer: Terri Lynn Youngblood)
2.     David Kievernagel - No Voting Record (Treasurer: Leslie Kievernagel)
3.     Robert O-Brien - Votes Republican (Treasurer: David Whitefield)

City of Lebanon: Alderman - Ward One

1.   * Lanny Jewell - Votes: 8-2006: Democrat; 2-2008: Democrat;  8-2010: Republican;  3-2012 Republican;  8-2012 Republican (Treasurer: himself )
2.   * Richard Rogers - Votes: 8-2010: Democrat; 3-2012: Republican (Treasurer: Victoria Garrett)

City of Lebanon: Alderman Ward Two

1.     Fred Burton, Sr. - Votes Democrat  (No Treasurer listed)
2.     Annette Stafford  - Votes Democrat  (Treasurer: Kanesa Shipman)

City of Lebanon: Alderman Ward Five

1.     Robert "Tick" Bryan - Votes Republican  (Treasurer: R.C. Benson)
2.     Joe Mills - Votes Republican  (Treasurer: Don Scott)
3.     Billy Weeks - Votes Republican  (Treasurer: Kathy Boyd)

Mayor for City of Mt. Juliet

1.     Jim Bradshaw - Votes Republican (Treasurer: himself)
2.     Ed Hagerty - Votes Republican (Treasurer: himself)
3.     Jamie Luffman - Votes Republican (Treasurer: Jill Luffman)

Mt. Juliet City Commissioner District One

1.     Jonathan Brydalski - Votes Republican (Treasurer: Ben Lane)
2.     Michael Gallion - Votes Republican ( Treasurer: himself)
3.     Ray Justice - Votes Republican (Treasurer: Bill Easley)

Mt. Juliet City Commissioner District Three

1.     Art Giles - Votes Republican (treasurer: himself)
2.   * Britt Lynville - Votes mostly Democrat: Democrat to 1996;  8-2002: Democrat;  8-2004: Republican; 8:06 Democrat;  8:2008: Democrat;  8-2010 Democrat;  8-2012: Republican (Treasurer: Gwynee Queener)

Mayor of Watertown:

Michael Jennings - Votes Democrat  (Treasurer: himself)


1.     Jim Amero - Votes Democrat  (Treasurer:None listed)
2.     Brandy Baird Holcomb - No information ( Treasurer: None listed)
3.     Tony Lea - No information  (Treasurer: None listed)
4.     James (Tom) Nix - Votes Democrat  (Treasurer: none listed)

Back in a post I wrote in August of 2011 (click here) titled "Case Closed", I pointed out that, in my opinion, the writer(s) of the group's newsletters does not understand what an "Independent voter" is. I pointed out that generally Independents consider themselves as such because they do not have a formal membership in any political party. They do not vote for a party or based upon party loyalty. Instead, they tend to vote for a person or for ideals, principles, or values. I also pointed out that oftentimes an Independent is disgruntled with the two major parties for some reason and that leads to them being an Independent. I consider myself an Independent for these reasons, too. In fact, I refer to myself as a "Conservative Independent."

INDIANOLA, IA - SEPTEMBER 03:  A Tea Party sup...
INDIANOLA, IA - SEPTEMBER 03: A Tea Party supporter waves an American flags during the Tea Party of America's 'Restoring America' event at the Indianola Balloon Festival Grounds on September 3, 2011 in Indianola, Iowa. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin headlined the Tea Party of America's 'Restoring America' event. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
The first thing I noticed in this section of the newsletter that brought on the laughter is the use of the word "Unmasking" in the title. It seems sensationalized as if the writer(s) had just gotten wind of a major scandal and wanted to share it with the world. Wow. Nice job. I fail to see anything to get excited about here.

The second thing that was entertaining was in the introductory paragraph, of the aforementioned section, where the writer(s) state their "amusement" with the fact that some local candidates file as Independents, but then tend to vote in the primaries of the two major parties. I doubt their "amusement" was anywhere near the magnitude of mine as I read. I was rolling, because this is not uncommon due to political party affiliation not normally being a major factor in local races. One reason is because it doesn't matter if a candidate did file as a Republican or Democrat, they're not gonna receive any money from the party for their campaign. Plus, most Independents will say that they tend to vote Republican or Democrat. Once again, there's nothing to see here, yet it my opinion, it appears that the writer(s) for the WCTP is insinuating that these candidates have committed some hideous sin by declaring as Independents, but then voting in Republican or Democratic primaries. Puzzling. What should we do with these "naughty" candidates - put them in time-out ? Bad candidates. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. Oops. Yep - you're right. I'm going overboard with the sarcasm again. Bad Sheepdog.

The third thing I noticed actually shows the deepest lack of understanding about what an Independent voter is. In order to make my point, I ask that you scroll back up to the text colored blue above. Four candidates (marked with * before their names), including Philip E. Craighead (candidate for Mayor of City of Lebanon), Lanny Jewell and Richard Rogers (both candidates for City of Lebanon : Alderman - Ward One), and Britt Linville (candidate for Mt. Juliet City Commissioner District Three) have voted in both Democrat and Republican primaries. Doing so is the essence of what being an Independent is !! They have not voted straight down party lines, so I suspect they have voted for particular candidates that they felt would do the best job in whatever office they were running for. As I said, this is what Independents do, and it's what makes them Independents. It really baffles me that this concept is so misunderstood by whomever is writing these newsletters for the WCTP. It puzzles me even further when you consider that the WCTP Chairman, Sherrie Orange, has served as a Wilson Co. (TN) Election Commissioner. I would think that someone in her position would make sure the group understands this concept a little better.

As I've mentioned in earlier blog posts, after being a Republican for many, many years, I became an Independent a few years ago. It was mainly because elected officials and candidates wearing the Republican label were doing things and saying things that were not only unacceptable to me as a person, but they were taking political positions that were more lefty Democrat in nature than what I expected from a so-called "Conservative Republican." So, in good conscience I could not wear the Republican label anymore. I suspect the way I felt was very similar to what Ronald Reagan did when he left the Democrats to be a Republican. He said, "I didn't leave the Democrat Party - it left me." I could relate.

I have already early voted, because I didn't want to stand in line on election day. There were four races on my ballot. I voted for 2 Republicans, 1 Independent, and 1 Constitution Party candidate. I did so after researching all the candidates closely and picking the ones that lined up most closely with my principles and values and after doing a lot of praying and seeking the Lord's guidance. I think the way I voted is a perfect example of what an Independent voter is.

It puzzles me as to why the WCTP and others can't understand such a simple concept. I'm sure they've heard others explain it before as I have here and in the previous blog post I mentioned earlier. The whole thing kinda reminds me of the line by Captain, the prison warden, in 1967's Cool Hand Luke, because apparently, "What we've got here is (a) failure to communicate." Sad, isn't it ?

(click here for video clip)
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