Pioneer life in the Benton Co. WA area
Local Means Solved Problems/Election Days Are Compared
By BURTON 0. LUM
Sunday, 9 September 1962, page 27
Summer ends and Fall will begin Sunday, Sept. 23. At this time of the year the old pioneers would ask each other what have you done with your summer’s wages. Have you been a busy bee, a provident ant or just a no-good grasshopper? If you had been a no-good grasshopper, it was high time for you to get busy and lay aside something before the winter winds and snows arrived. These were the days of “rugged individualism.” There was no paternal or maternal government agency that would help you out of your difficulties. These were local matters and would have to be solved by local means. We didn’t get paid for wheat we didn’t grow or for hogs we didn’t raise. There was more accent on the positive in those early days and less on the negative.
Human nature is slow in changing. The election days of 70 years ago were quite similar to those of today. There were just as many individuals who were being forced into running for public office against their own desires. I have often wondered what the results would be if a candidate would file for the office of his choice, without letting his friends know of it until after he had filed. He could then honestly say to all the voters in his campaign, “That I do not consider that any nominee should follow the wishes of friends before or after election. The issues of this campaign should be decided upon their merit as should all future actions of the elected officer.”
Why all this political hocus-pocus? It is one of the human frailities of every public office seeker to be thrilled by the sound of his own voice on the air. Can he be enchanted by the appearance of his flickering image on the TV screen? The successful candidates can thank his constituents for their votes. The defeated candidate can always say in the future, “When I was a candidate for such and such as office…”
A good politician can always salvage something from his losses. The sign painter has a periodical boom for his business. The printer throws his presses into high gear. The voters who have taken the time to complete their registration are going to have their eyes dazzled and their ears bombarded from now until the election is over. This is the period that countless promises are made but not all of them are kept.
Even the sedate judges in some instances are forced to campaign for their retention. We old timers felt that a judge should be elected for life and good behavior. The dignity of his office should be above political reproach, if the highest type of judges were to be secured. We old timers felt moral laws, as well as political statutes, should be enforced. That unless the judge was a man of high personal morals he was not fit to wear a judges robe, no matter how much law he might know. The prime requisite of a good judge was his ability to adjudicate the laws of the land in such a manner that justice be best served.Return to Index of Burton Lum Articles