Fast food politicsWritten by Michael Miller | Editor in Chief Emeritus | firstname.lastname@example.org
Voters practice politics in Lucas County like they approach the comfort food menu at a fast food joint. The relatively smart and healthy choices are usually ignored for less challenging options.
There was not one surprise in any Lucas County race this year. The usual suspects won, like cheeseburgers win over salads at McDonald’s. Sherrod Brown. Bob Latta. Marcy Kaptur. Randy Gardner. Michael Ashford (unopposed). Teresa Fedor (unopposed). Future Toledo Mayor Matt Szollosi. Barbara Sears. Pete Gerken. Tina Skeldon Wozniak. Julia Bates (unopposed). J. Bernie Quilter. Wade Kapszukiewicz.
Would you like fries with that?
It’s not that these are bad people; they are just easy options, chosen for comfort and familiarity as much (if not more) as for competence and results.
In the Lucas County Recorder race, voters chose Phil Copeland over George Sarantou. It is gracious and proper to congratulate Copeland, even as one shakes one’s head in disappointment. Under Jeanine Perry, the recorder’s office has stayed out of the news, a testament to its efficiency and competence. Let us hope its employees can compensate for Copeland’s lack of a plan for the office (“I want to go and be a part of it and I may have some ideas when I get in there,” Copeland said, a fair approach when talking about decorating a kitchen but a suspect plan for dealing with an important county office).
Even scarier is that Jack Ford is reportedly maneuvering behind the scenes to garner an appointment to Copeland’s soon-to-be vacated seat. There is buzz that Carty Finkbeiner and current City Council President Joe McNamara are working to help Ford make that happen. Finkbeiner’s days in government are over, but if McNamara is embroiled in moving Council backward with Ford, serious doubts should be cast on McNamara’s judgment if he is truly considering a campaign for Toledo mayor.
Sarantou’s loss was part of another stellar showing for the Lucas County Republican Party, a pitiful group establishing a legacy of epic failures and incompetency. The Lucas County GOP loses so often, it makes the Pittsburgh Pirates’ current 20-season losing streak look like a rousing success.
Making a ‘metafur’
My first-grader’s school was closed on Election Day to serve as a polling place, so he was going to work with me for the day. We left our house at 6 a.m. to make sure I could vote. Six-year-old Evan, who has been absorbing political commercials and propaganda, was anxious for President Obama to retain his job. Evan’s mom and I disagreed on this point; she is an unshakeable liberal who eschews Republican candidates like she shoos away summer flies and I am a conservative-leaning moderate who tries to vote case by case. I voted for Obama in 2008 but have seen enough of his idea of “hope and change” to switch allegiances to the GOP candidate. As we drove to the polling place, Evan asked me repeatedly if I was still voting against Obama and I repeatedly said yes. My jaw, despite regular doses of prescription Motrin, still ached from an earlier double root canal surgery, so I preferred not to talk. But I wanted to encourage Evan’s interest in the voting process so I tried to explain to him why I was voting against his guy.
“This vote is more about you and your little brother Sean than it is about me and your mom,” I told him. “The country needs to make some major changes about money and planning so you and Sean can grow up to be what you want and be comfortable enough to have families if you want to. I believe Mr. Romney is more likely to try to make changes that will benefit you than Mr. Obama is.”
“You don’t know that for sure, do you Dad?” he asked.
“No, I don’t,” I said. “But voting is sometimes about choosing a person based on potential and hope.”
Evan was silent for a beat.
“Daddy, I thought President Obama owned hope.”
I laughed to myself and told him, “No one really owns hope. I voted for Mr. Obama last time but you were only 2 and Sean was just a few months old. Today, I don’t have the same faith in him.”
Evan and I arrived at the precinct voting station a little early and stood in line with about 50 people. The line moved fairly quickly and Evan stood by patiently as I filled the ballot circles and turned in my ballot. We both received “I Voted” stickers, which we placed on our jackets, and walked to the car.
Evan was quiet for a while, then asked, “Daddy, did you vote for President Obama?”
“No, I voted for Mr. Romney. Remember, I think that’s the best choice for you and your future.”
“It’s OK,” Evan said. “I won’t tell Mommy.”
“I think she’ll know, son,” I said.
“But wouldn’t it be easier to keep President Obama?” Evan asked.
“Easier isn’t always better,” I said. “In fact, easier is usually not better. McDonald’s may be more fun, but it’s not as good for you as making a smart dinner at home.”
Evan sat quietly for a few miles.
“Can we go to McDonald’s today?”
“Not today,” I said. “There will be too many voters there.”
“Why would voters be at McDonald’s?” he asked.
“Never mind,” I said.
“You’re making up a ‘metafur,’ aren’t you?” he replied.
I smiled. “Yes, but don’t tell your mom.”
“I think she’ll know, Dad.”
Michael S. Miller is editor in chief of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at email@example.com.
Tags: Barack Obama, Barbara Sears, Bernie Quilter, Bob Latta, Carty Finkbeiner, George Sarantou, Jack Ford, Jeanine Perry, Joe McNamara, Julia Bates, Lighting The Fuse, Marcy Kaptur, Matt Szollosi, Michael Ashford, Michael S. Miller, Mitt Romney, Pete Gerken, Phil Copeland, Randy Gardner, Sherrod Brown, Teresa Fedor, Tina Skeldon Wozniak, Wade Kapszukiewicz