I hate the way in which our political campaigning has devolved into the ugliest process on Planet Earth. Consequently, we have one of the ugliest governments on Planet Earth. Vast sums of money are reported as given to this candidate or to that party; questions about how much is legal to give or if corporations are real people dressed up as skyscrapers holding moneybags. Every time I see those big donations, I think of all the good that money like that could buy. Increased pay for teachers, or better daycare for single parents, or expanded support for people with disabilities. Roads, hi-speed internet…the list is endless.
Last year, I accidentally became the chair of the Parke County Democratic party, the party of everyday people. And do you know what I have found? Everyday people feel the same way I do. Numb and sick at the sight of negative campaign ads, hearing supposed leaders calling people names and telling lies. Everyday people both need and want better leadership.
Here in Parke County, we are going to walk our way to victory. We are reaching out to other everyday people who want a safe and good school for their kids, a job that pays them fairly and a way to get to and from work that doesn’t tear up the tires on their car. Oh, and maybe a glass of wine or a cold beer at the end of the day.
Our outreach at first netted few likes of a Facebook ad that sought “Democrats of good character to run for local offices.” Several people who not only fit the description but felt the seriousness of that ad, came together to call on other Democrats of good character. Discussing the various offices and responsibilities. As well as how to thrive as a township trustee, county clerk or even commissioner!
At the close of the filing period, there were 48 Democrats filing out of a total of 91 filings in the County. Nineteen of these were women. In all, seventeen women and ten men will be first-time candidates in the 2018 Parke County Indiana election season.
Parke County is one of those deep, dark red counties. Democrats almost never file for office because feel they don’t have a chance. In the 2016 election cycle, there were less than 10 people who ran for Parke county offices as Democrats.
In the 2016 Presidential election statistics show 74% of the voters as Republican and 21% Democrat. Less than 40% of voting age residents voted in the 2016 election. No one knows how long Parke County has been so bleeding red.
Come November, the red will fade a bit as the soles of hundreds of feet of everyday people, believing in better and fairer government, tramp along the dusty roads of Parke County. Engaging the 60% of people who feel like none of this matters to them.
Nancy Swaim, Chair
(edited for clarity and length)