Monday, October 6, 2014
CELEBRATE FREE SPEECH!
Weekly Opinion Editorial
CELEBRATE FREE SPEECH!
by Steve Fair
I love the fall campaign season. Walking a neighborhood for a conservative candidate and engaging voters on their doorstep is my idea of fun. Last Saturday, I was knocking doors for a candidate and I encountered four people who wouldn’t take the campaign material. Here is an account of each encounter;
The first person told me they were a Democrat, so they couldn’t vote for a Republican. I told them they could in fact vote for Republican in the November 4th election because it is a general election and registered Democrats and Independents can vote for Republicans and vise versa. Oklahoma does have ‘closed primaries’, but in general elections, Ds can vote for Rs and Rs can vote for Ds. There is no restriction on crossing Party lines in a general election. In fact, a large percentage of registered Democrats in Oklahoma vote Republican.
Another person told me in no uncertain terms he wouldn’t vote for a Republican- ever! This is what is known as a ‘Yellow Dog Democrat.’ That means they would vote for a ‘yellow dog’ before they would vote for a Republican. I’ve never understood why a ‘yellow’ dog was any less appealing than any other color dog, but nevertheless they must be the case. The ‘yellow dog Democrat’ is a dying breed in Oklahoma. Most Democrats in Oklahoma are conservative when it comes to social and gun rights issues and those Ds have been voting in mass for Republicans at the federal and state level for twenty plus years. Since 1964, Oklahoma has not voted for the Democrat nominee for President. In the last three presidential elections, Oklahoma is the only state in the U.S. where every county has voted for the Republican nominee.
A third guy told me, “He didn’t believe in Republicans.” I assume he meant that he didn’t believe in what Republicans stood for. Republicans stand for values like traditional marriage and the right to keep and bear arms. We also take a hard line stand against murdering unborn children and protecting them in the womb. We oppose excess taxation and the expansion of government. Unlike our Democrat counterparts, we want people to take responsibility for their own lives. Perhaps I misunderstood him and he truly didn’t believe Republican ‘existed’- that we are just a figment of an overactive imagination.
I also encountered a lady who screamed at me that she was ‘not interested.’ That could mean I interrupted her dinner or her television program, but it likely meant she didn’t pay any attention to politics and could care less. This is the most disturbing one of the four people I encountered. The other three are engaged in the process and are voting. They are at least paying some attention to their government, but the uninterested person is one who presents the greatest threat to our countries future. We must have people engaged in the process to maintain our system of government. America is a land of the self-governed. The people are the boss- not the elected officials. Whether you like politics or not, you live in a country where it is imperative you let your voice be heard. At the very least you should vote. When nearly 40% of those eligible to vote in Oklahoma are not registered to vote, the future looks bleak.
A common characteristic all four individuals had was they were very rude and appeared to be angry because I had dared to knock their door to campaign. I was simply exercising my first amendment right of free speech. Any candidate or volunteer of a candidate- from any Party- who proactively takes the time to walk the street and campaign door to door should be applauded. That should be encouraged from both sides of the political spectrum. It’s what is missing from the process- interaction with the people.
In the next three weeks, candidates will be out and about asking for your vote. Instead of harassing or being rude to candidates from another Party or those who disagree with you politically, be civil and respective of the other person’s right to be a part of the process. Debate the issues and passionately stand up for your convictions, but don’t be rude if they disagree with your ideology. Celebrate that you live in a land where free speech is allowed and not attacked. Agree to disagree. If you are not interested, get interested- your future and the future of your children depend on it. The last day to register to vote for the November 4th election is Friday October 10th.