An informed voter makes the best decision at polls

Greg Bean

Coda

As we count down to the elections, I’ve been taking calls from local politicians and their handlers wondering if they’ll get our endorsement before voters go to the polls.

I always tell them no.

Fact is, we stopped making editorial endorsements of candidates several years ago for a variety of reasons. In the days when we made editorial endorsements, we based those endorsements on the candidate’s qualifications, and not whether they were Republicans, Democrats or independents.

And in any given election, we’d endorse candidates of every political persuasion across our coverage area. Still, taking sides, even with the best intentions, led some people to accuse us of bias. It also led to hard feelings and strained relations after the election was over.

In some communities, we were accused of favoring Republicans over Democrats. In others, we were accused of favoring Democrats over Republicans. In still others, we were accused of favoring the independents over everyone else.

Although I’ve worked with most of the managing editors and reporters who produce the various Greater Media news-papers for years, I’ve never asked any of them about their personal political affiliations, and I couldn’t tell you if they’re Democrats, Republicans, independents, Libertarians or Whigs. Those affiliations were never germane to our discussions. We always crafted our endorsement based on which individual we believed would do the best job for the community.

Even so, you can’t make an endorsement without the appearance of bias, and that was something we wanted to avoid.

After a lot of soul-searching, we decided that it was our job not to endorse one candidate over another, but to provide readers with as much information as possible about all of the candidates before the election and let them make their own decisions.

That’s why, in all of our newspapers this election season, we’ve attempted to provide meaningful profiles of the candidates and their platforms in our pages. And even though we might not have always asked the questions they wanted to answer, we’ve tried to present their information and answers in as straight-forward and even-handed a manner as possible.

If that has helped you make a decision before you go to the voting booth, then we have done our job.

Now, it’s up to you. No matter who you support, the most important thing is that you take part in that wonderful American process next Tuesday.

One vote can make a difference. Let yours be that vote.

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Since we live in the Nanny State, where officials are always on the lookout for new ways to protect us from ourselves, I figure it’s only a matter of time before our educational administrators follow their colleagues in Massachusetts and find some ways to ruin recess for our kids.

According to a story from The Associated Press last week, school administrators in Willett, Mass., about 40 miles south of Boston, have banned children from playing unsupervised chase games like tag and touch football during recess because they’re afraid the fragile little darlings might get hurt. They’re also afraid their parents will hold the school liable and sue.

Celeste D’Elia, who supported the tag ban, told The Associated Press her son feels safer in school because of it. “I’ve witnessed enough near collisions,” she said.

With its ban on tag, Willett joins a growing community of educational organizations that are doing their best to suck the fun out of growing up. In my home state of Wyoming, for example, it’s against the rules for kids in Cheyenne schools to play tag and Red Rover at recess, and kids in some suburban schools in Charleston, S.C., are prohibited from all contact sports.

Next, they’ll be requiring parents to encase their children in bubble wrap and duct tape before putting them on the bus. That would protect them from getting bumped on the way to school. And once they’re in school, the educators can tuck them away in individual pods made of stainless steel and Styrofoam to protect them from everything else.

Except the real world, that is. They’ll be completely unprepared for that.

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Last weekend, I put up the new pinstriped mailbox my son painted for me at the auto shop. It was real nice. Flashy. When the neighbors drove by and saw it, I could tell they were jealous.

I was a happy man. Until yesterday, that is, when I came home from work and found the door to my new mailbox was broken off and lying on the lawn. The cause?

The mailbox was stuffed with so many catalogs and circulars hawking Christmas and holiday merchandise that the mailbox couldn’t hold them all. The postman had jammed so much junk in there, my new, pinstriped mailbox flat exploded.

And it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet. At this rate, by the time the actual holiday shopping season rolls around, I’m going to need a much bigger mailbox.

Maybe I can get the kid to pinstripe a 55-gallon drum.

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Stop the presses!

According to an Associated Press story out of Denver last week, lots of Americans feel stressed and depressed on Sundays because they have to go back to work on Monday morning.

“I think what most people experience are thoughts of dread,” psychotherapist Dr. David Wright told the AP. “Before going back to work they experience withdrawal behaviors, they don’t enjoy their Sundays.”

Well, thank you very much, Captain Obvious. I’m sure most of us have felt the occasional wave of free-floating anxiety on Sunday evening. And all this time, we’ve been thinking we were just down in the dumps from watching another depressing Andy Rooney segment on “60 Minutes.”

Now we know the real reason. It’s because our weekend is about over, and we’d like to have another day off.

In the words of that great American, Homer Simpson, “Doh!

Gregory Bean is executive editor of Greater Media Newspapers. You can reach him at gbean@gmnews.com.