Politics not as usual

Published 9:40 pm Wednesday, August 13, 2008

As is the case every four years, the upcoming presidential election has brought out the worst that politics has to offer. Paris Hilton has been featured in a commercial firing back at John McCain after the presidential hopeful negatively portrayed the celebrity in order to question opponent Barack Obama’s credibility. And you’ve probably seen the widely circulated e-mails that question Obama’s religious beliefs.

Thorsby and Jemison, though, have provided a democratic ray of hope in a country otherwise marked by the darkness of political ignorance. First, three people in each city – incumbent Tom Bentley, Tracia Bussey and Dearyl Hilyer in Thorsby and incumbent Eddie Reed, Kenneth Ray and Brian “Bucky” Jackson in Jemison – are running for mayor. That points to a town with a healthy political situation. And we’re sure residents like having several choices about who will lead their town for the next four years.

To make matters better, it appears all three Thorsby candidates and several Jemison mayor and city council candidates have agreed to participate in town meetings that will feature questions posed by moderators. Kudos to the JHS and THS Student Government Associations and the residents that planned these events.

The only way these meetings could be better is if the candidates were taking live questions from the audience. Ofttimes the best way to uncover someone’s true feelings is to see how he or she responds to a question with no preparation beforehand. That being said, we can understand the reluctance to allow live questions. Live questions could make the meeting much more difficult to control.

Residents in Thorsby, however, will still be allowed to ask questions. Those interested will have to submit the questions beforehand. The candidates have also been given a list of 10 common questions they will be asked.

The people of Thorsby and Jemison should be ecstatic about having plenty of choices for public offices and about an opportunity to hear these three candidates speak at the same time. These are the kind of events big cities are unlikely to have, much less small towns. Unlike the big election, this is democracy at its best.