Archived Opinion

Don’t let tunnel vision run your life

Don’t let tunnel vision run your life

To the Editor:

Let me start by saying that on November 8 I worked the polls, and the views I am expressing are strictly my own and should in no way reflect the opinions or policies of the Haywood County Board of Elections and its staff.

The main thing I did on Election Day was to work the voting booths. I found voters an empty booth and was available to answer questions. This Election Day, almost every question was about how to vote only for candidates of whatever party that voter wanted. There were several uncontested races with candidates from both parties running with no challenger. I was asked many times, “Why is there no one from my party there? Do I have to vote for THAT other person? I don’t want them.” I answered that no, you never have to vote for anyone you don’t want to. You can just leave it blank. 

But it seems to me that maybe this person is not being challenged because they do a great job and the other professionals in that field may respect that and are comfortable with them continuing in that job.

But the question that alarmed me the most was the voter who asked why no were no party affiliations in the school board races. I explained that the state legislature determines which offices will be partisan or nonpartisan. That encourages people to get to know the candidates and what their views on local education issues might be. And what they might have to offer. The response I got was that this voter certainly did not have time for that. Just put the party on the ballot. 

So here’s what I think. I early voted. I voted for candidates from both parties. I care about the quality of the candidate and their record, not just their party. But, if you want to go in the voting booth and help choose who is going to handle my tax money, or be my judge, then follow through with your philosophy. Next time you need a plumber, don’t ask around to see who is best or cheapest. Your only question should be “How are you registered?” Need a knee replacement? Most people want someone qualified. All of you with your one-party blinders on should only ask “What’s your affiliation?” Stop thinking at all about how well anyone you have contact with is doing their job. Your only query should be, “Are you in my party? If not, hit the road.” 

This might make sense to some people, but I think most people don’t want to have party affiliation govern every decision they make day to day. Don’t live your life based on tunnel vision, and please don’t take it into the voting booth either.

And that’s what I think, for what it’s worth.

Rich Byers


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