Today we are privileged to exercise our right to choose the men and women who will represent us in Washington, D.C. At least that’s what they say they are going to do. That’s seldom what actually happens, but we continue to believe.
I can’t help but think today of the many political ads and articles I’ve read in the Caddo papers. In the “old days” those running for local and state offices were well known. They lived nearby, had family that most folks knew, and were usually held accountable for anything and everything they did. It was pretty easy to follow their path to power. Candidates for office couldn’t keep very many secrets or to do anything in office that wasn’t questioned by the local constituents.
The men in my mother’s family, especially her grandfather, C. W. Banta, were outspoken political watchdogs of their day. Mr. Banta wrote for the paper and frequently spoke out about local and state issues. Other members of the family were just as active in politics. This item from 1912 is a fine example:
“L.J. Banta, of the Heights, met one Mr. Thompson, local organizer of Atoka County in joint discussion of Socialism at Caney last Saturday. Mr. Banta had the opening and closing speeches. He ripped the Socialists up and down and back until they were sick of their own doctrine. In his closing speech he made it so hot for them that they withdrew from the scene of action and left Mr. Banta victoriously in possession of the battle field.”
I’m not sure anyone in our family is that involved anymore. My son is the only one I know who has more than a passing interest in politics. I suppose the rest of us have become somewhat complacent because we’ve come to realize that the political process is far more complicated than most of us can comprehend. Secrets and lies seem to form the foundation of our current government and most people who become a part of it succumb to the status quo. As voters we take our chances- it simply takes too much effort to separate reality from rhetoric and to find out the true beliefs of any candidate for office. So we listen to a few speeches, consider the campaign promises, talk with our friends, research a few records, and hope we make some kind of “informed decision”. Then we sit back and pray that they keep their promises…which they seldom do.