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You can't swing a medium sized cat...

From the editor

POSTED: April 13, 2018 6:30 p.m.
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Jeff Whitten is managing editor of the Bryan County News and Coastal Courier, his favorite papers.

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I hate this time of year. I love this time of year.

It’s getting so you can’t swing a medium-sized cat without it hitting a candidate for something. Governor. Congress. State senate. School board chairman.

In Bryan County nine times out of eight it’s a Republican.

That’s largely thanks to South Bryan, which is only slightly more conservative politically than Attila the Hun.

But for good or ill, the times are changing. These days, starry-eyed Democrats are popping up here and there to challenge the status quo.

I wish them luck, though I suspect they’ve got about as much chance of succeeding hereabouts as Bernie Sanders playing Ozzy Osbourne records at a Savannah Board of Realtors convention.

But at least they’re out there trying, and more on that later.

In the meantime, if it’s not a gubernatorial candidate out there poking around in the shrubbery or emailing you to death asking for your vote for governor, it’s somebody running for Congress, which is apparently about as competent as 200 dysfunctional Atlanta-area school boards all rolled into one.

They want more than your vote, of course. Most of them want your money, because it costs money to be a candidate for office. Without it, well, think Bernie Sanders playing Ozzy Osbourne records.

The funny thing is, most of these candidates have sizeable bank accounts already. What’s more, they are likely awash in big money donors to keep them rolling around in $100,000 buses, signs on the side promising a brighter day ahead once they get into office and build that wall and fire all the Democrats.

If you see one of these buses roll into your town, hide your wallet.

Interestingly enough, and despite the fact that money pervades everything in our political system these days — it’s almost like we’re run by the NCAA — some candidates want to look like real people, so they make a point out of showing up at invitation only fish fries wearing what rich people wear at these events. You know, sweaters tied around shoulders, hair swept back and pearls for the men, dungarees and hiking sandals for the ladies.

I don’t know anybody else who dresses like this except for a neighbor, who cuts his grass dressed up like he’s about to play lawn tennis at Downton Abbey.

This guy comes outside to cut the grass, he’s got on khakis and a sports shirt tucked in, and he hops aboard his riding mower and surveys his land like the lord of the manor.

Naturally, he’s a Republican.

When I come out to cut the grass, it’s all I can do to make sure I have clothes on. Then it’s T-shirts with oil stains on the front and cutoffs and old running shoes that smell like a family of hamsters used to live in them.

Naturally, I’m in newspapers.

Still, my being in newspapers means everybody aspiring to keep or claim high office who doesn’t know me wants to be my buddy, "Hey Ross, how you are you and the family," they email.

On the other hand, those in office who do know me at least publicly keep a distance. They’re afraid I’m catching.

"Stay over there you wicked little troll. Don’t stand too close to me."

And I’m fine with that. In fact, if it weren’t for my need to be impartial I’d ditch 90 percent of the lot in a week. The more I am around politicians and aspiring politicians, the less I like them. Especially the ones who think they’re more right than anyone else.

That said, I am of two minds about this whole thing. I think we all are. We tend to respect people with the backbone to put their money where their mouth is and run for office. Until, of course, they get into office.

Then they’re the enemy, as they should be. In short, it’s entirely healthy for us to want to run off elected officials and think the worst of them. This country was founded on revolution, and we need to drain the swamp about every other week.

For one thing, that’s how we find out the people who promised to drain the swamp are worse than the ones they just drained out of a job, and, for another, it keeps editorial cartoonists employed.

It’s the American way.

Add this in as well: I’m not so sure this evidently insatiable need some people have to be in charge of things is normal.

I think you have to be weird to want to take credit for things, which is what politicians seem best at. Besides, if anybody out there thinks a candidate is actually ever going to do anything other than stand around and legislate and get paid big bucks while other people do the real work, then he or she deserves who he gets.

Take tax reform, which added about $75 a month to my take home pay. Thanks for that, by the way.

But let’s face it. The people who voted for tax reform didn’t read or write the bill, oh no. Corporations wrote it and then told them what it said.

I certainly can understand why. Anything a lawyer helped write puts me to sleep after two or three paragraphs. So imagine something 2,000 pages long full of IRS language — the IRS standing for Internal Revenue Service.

True story: I was proofing a page the other day and saw Internal Revenue Service in an announcement and came oh so close to changing than first "t" to an "f."

I still might. It’s one of the few perks of being an editor and we have to take them where we can get them.

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