For What It's Worth
Well, the election is over, except for stories in the coming weeks about who won and lost in Grant County, and we have the change in the room tax to keep an eye on, and Glenn Palmer is still the boss at the jail, and close to 3,000 people in the county are happy about that, and Scott Myers, without even a hint of a campaign, still has his seat on the county court; the two Kathys at the courthouse kept their jobs - Smith, the treasurer, and McKinnon, the clerk, who just might be happier than anyone that the election is over and she can stop ironing ballots and saying special words to make the old Optech counting machines do their job.
Elections are worth whatever it takes to get them done, because no matter how you filled in the arrows on your ballot - Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or Bonehead - someone in uniform died to preserve that most precious part of being an American: the right to have your voice heard in a free country.
Men and women have been fighting and dying for this country since Day 1, and the very least the rest of us can do is vote. There was an 80 percent voter turnout in Oregon, 85 percent in Grant County, which is good, I suppose, but what in the name of hanging chads was everybody else thinking?
Even in a state where you can do it by mail, not everyone votes. That's pathetic. Don't people realize that every vote counts?
Look at the race for mayor in Prairie City, for a local example. Linda Harrington received 109 votes, and write-in candidates Paul Woodworth and Jim Hamsher received 125 votes each; so there's a tie and the next mayor could be decided by a coin toss, or some other such silly method, which is ridiculous, and even more so when you consider that the city has more than 500 registered voters.
What happened to the other 200 people? If only one of them had voted for one of the write-in candidates, the city would have a mayor chosen at the ballot box instead of the roulette wheel. It wouldn't be the overwhelming mandate George W. thinks he got, but it would be better than knowing that enough people to fill a gymnasium decided voting wasn't worth the effort.
Tell that to a veteran.
On Thursday, Nov. 11, Veterans Day, there will be celebrations and memorials throughout the country, and right here in Grant County, which has given its share of men and women to the cause of freedom (see Page A11 and commentary on this page), and it's a time to reflect on the sacrifices people have made to keep whole that which was created more than 200 years ago.
At least I can say I voted. I may not have marked my ballot in such a way that would delight major-party followers or those who would call me faithless, but I did mark it, which gives me the right to be part of the debate. Otherwise, I would have to keep my mouth shut.