At the University of Chicago last week, the leader in the race to become the Republican nominee for President of the United States said, “I don’t mean to be flip with this, but I don’t see how a young American can vote for a Democrat.’’ Mitt Romney cheerfully apologized to anyone who might find such a comment “offensive,’’ but went on to explain what young people need to consider if they are thinking of voting for Democrats.
The Democratic Party “is focused on providing more and more benefits to my generation, mounting trillion-dollar annual deficits my generation will never pay for,’’ Romney said. While Democrats are perpetrating “the greatest inter-generational transfer of wealth in the history of humankind,’’ Republicans are “consumed with the idea of getting federal spending down and creating economic growth and opportunity so we can balance our budget and stop putting these debts on you.’’
The government’s record-breaking debts “are not frightening to people my age, because we’ll be gone,’’ Romney argued, but “they ought to be frightening to death to people your age!’’ He regretted not doing a better job of getting that message across to younger voters. “You guys ought to be out,’’ Romney insisted, “working like crazy for me and for people like me: conservatives, who want to keep the cost of government down and give you a brighter future.’’
Despite efforts to breathe life into the local Democratic Party, Liberty County has been jumping out of the Democrats boat for several elections. Young and old people alike have been voting more and more for Republicans in local elections as years of questionable behavior by Democrats holding office has made the last fifteen years sound to discerning ears like a steady inevitable “here we come” drumbeat for Republicans. The same concerns that Romney expresses about the country should be on people’s minds as they look at the future of this county.
Unfortunately, but very predictably, Liberty County has more complicated things to consider at the polls than Romney’s simplistic “vote Republican and get rid of the tax and spenders” advice. Local politicians have switched parties and some of the switchers are not what Republicans should want. Incompetent Democrats like Henry Patterson switched last election and have had four years to stain the law and order image Republicans like to project. The majority of officeholders who have switched have simply been like Patterson and tried to go where the votes are and there has been no principle involved in their decision. But there have been a few with conservative beliefs who switched to get away from the poor behavior of local Democrats and to try and coalesce with newly elected Republicans to solve budget problems.
Particularly frustrating for conservatives who have been actively working for change for any length of time in Liberty County are the people who show up to run as Republicans who have either worked against the local Republican effort or they have been in position to help and they have sat on their hands and not lifted a finger. The best example of that is seen in the District Attorney’s race. Karen McNair is far and away the best prepared to become Liberty County’s next D.A. and she has been working to elect other local Republicans for years. In contrast, Logan Pickett has the least experience of any prosecutor in the courthouse and though his family has spent part of their wealth and influence in statewide and national races, they have done nothing but help Democrats locally – until now.
One thing Liberty County voters can be proud of. We have pierced the veil of those in power who told all of us it would “always be this way”. We have, at least for this period of time in our history, responded the way Benjamin Franklin hoped we would when he was asked if we know we have got – a Republic or a Monarchy at the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Franklin said if we could keep it, we would have a system of government where every man had a say, not one like it was in England where Kings and Queens and Dukes and Duchesses told us how things were going to be.
Young people ought to be willing to fight for that in any generation.