Respect and Politics: can they coexist?

Once upon a time, about two weeks ago, on a very busy Tuesday, a friend and former colleague ran for local office: County Board Supervisor for her district. After the April 3rd election, she had lost by 19 votes. Careful examination of the absentee ballots found two more votes in her favor.

She (we’ll call her Ann) asked for a recount. She didn’t see the recount in terms of who won or lost, even though she was eager to serve. She saw the process as necessary to assure voters of accuracy – assure each and every voter that his/her vote did indeed count.
The recount, a tedious 11-hour process, ended with her opponent at 642 and her own tally 625. With 17 votes in between, she had lost. She conceded, congratulated her opponent, and moved on. I’m disappointed, like many of her supporters, but I’m so, so proud. Her statement contained no bitterness: only appreciation for the recount workers, thanks for her supporters, and the pride that comes with a record voter turnout in her district. She told us, “I am feeling very satisfied with the process and the outcome, as we all can be sure of the accuracy of the voting results.”
Meanwhile, back in in Walkerville, Wisconsin’s Governor Walker again demonstrated that he considered himself above all others and immune to suggestions and requests. That is, he’s immune to requests from anyone who doesn’t donate millions to his campaign. Gov. Walker campaigned recently on a six-city swing through our fair cheese filled state. At each rally, he warmed up the crowds by entering to the song, “Small Town” by John Mellencamp. Great, right? A musician from the Midwest (Indiana), a song with a title that acknowledges Wisconsin’s rural roots – what could be wrong with this scene?
Plenty is wrong with this scene. Mellencamp doesn’t support Walker. In fact, his publicist contacted the Governor’s campaign to state firmly that he is pro-union, pro-collective bargaining, and he supports the fight for workers to earn a living wage. Add to that Mellencamp’s performance of “Small Town” at a rally for President Barack Obama in 2008, and Walker’s use of the song sounds even more out of tune.
John Mellencamp’s representatives asked John McCain not to use the musician’s “Our Country” in 2008. McCain complied. So far, Gov. Walker has ignored the request to stop playing “Small Town” during his campaign.
Which candidate has more class, shows more respect for the voters? Ann, the local county board candidate, or the one who (temporarily) carries the title Governor? Soon-to-be-Former Governor Walker doesn’t respect the famous musician John Mellencamp; I certainly can’t expect him to respect me, an ordinary citizen. As for classy, in tune with constituents, and worthy of my respect, I vote for Ann.

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