Desperate signs and a worthwhile parade
Saturday, November 10, 2012 7:09 PM
Well, it's finished.
Election 2012 has come and gone. Some of you are pleased with the outcomes of various local, state and national races. I'm sure others are not so happy with the way things turned out.
Personally, I'm just glad it's over, so people can go back to accusing the paper of being biased for or against various sports teams, rather than daily calls and emails accusing us of being biased for or against Democrats or Republicans.
For more on that, flip on over to executive editor Richard S. Whiting's column on today's editorial page.
In my column last Sunday preceding the election, I openly wondered if someone would "spice things up" locally in regard to the election, perhaps pull out some dirty tricks.
Boy, did they ever.
Now, I've covered politics here for many years, and I've seen some last-minute tricks during that time.
I've seen where a political consultant hid in the bushes with a video camera and filmed alleged illegal immigrants painting a candidate's law office. I've seen a candidate have to fight off suddenly emerging criminal accusations from incidents that supposedly happened 30 years ago. In this very election cycle, I saw a campaign mailer that accused a local state House candidate - who has never before held elected office - of "taking orders from international union bosses."
But, what happened last week in the Eighth Circuit Solicitor's race between Republican (and eventual Eighth Circuit winner) David Stumbo and Democrat Ben Shealy just might take the cake in terms of underhanded, low down, dirty tricks.
On Monday, as many residents were taking their children to school and traveling elsewhere across the district, they likely saw numerous signs posted along the roadways, especially near schools.
The blue and white signs read, in bold letters, "MAKE GUNS LEGAL IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS - DAVID STUMBO." The signs, which also displayed Stumbo's personal phone number, were made to look like they were from the Stumbo campaign.
Obviously, Stumbo did not, and would not, produce and distribute such signs. You might find this hard to believe, but Stumbo, a veteran of the state Attorney General's office who campaigned vigorously to become the Eighth Circuit's lead prosecutor, actually is NOT in favor schoolchildren toting handguns into the classroom.
"Make guns legal in public schools." Geez. Are you kidding me?
Stumbo quickly called upon Shealy to "denounce the baseless, last-minute attempt to misrepresent my positions." Shealy, in turn, denied having anything to do with the signs, saying "There's certainly no reason I would do this at the end. I'm kind of shocked anybody would do it."
Obviously SOMEBODY who was against Stumbo went to the lengths to pay for and distribute these utterly ridiculous signs. Whoever was responsible, it was a laughable, cartoonish move that smacked of utter desperation.
The day the signs hit the street, I got a call from longtime Greenwood political operative/musician/rascal/goatee enthusiast Trey Ward.
"Have you seen these Stumbo signs?" Ward asked. "Who's behind these? I've never seen anything quite like this."
So, I guess at least some form of congratulations are in order to whoever the mystery phantom is that produced the fake Stumbo signs. You pulled a dirty political trick even the great Trey Ward has never seen.
Veterans Day parade today
I would be remiss if I didn't mention today's annual Veterans Day parade in Uptown Greenwood, sponsored by the Greenwood County Coalition of Veterans Organizations.
The parade begins at 2 p.m., departing from Hampton Place shopping center and proceeding south on Main Street through Uptown, and will come to an end at South Main Baptist Church.
Immediately following the parade, American Legion Post 20 will host a ceremony at the War Memorial monument in Uptown, in front of Howard's on Main.
We often talk about how much we appreciate veterans.
We hail the men of the Greatest Generation, who toiled in World War II. We wax poetic about the soldiers who fought through grueling battles in Korea. We shake our heads in disdain when recalling how the veterans who fought in Vietnam weren't given the proper reception when they returned home.
We implore our friends and neighbors to think of those who are currently toiling in Afghanistan and across the globe.
With that said, today you have the opportunity to do more than just pay lip service to the efforts of the men and women of our Armed Forces. Today you have the opportunity to show them how much you care.
When those veterans depart from Hampton Place and make their way through Uptown, they should see the sides of the street filled with residents, waving and saluting.
The weather forecast for today calls for sunshine and mild temperatures. There is no cost associated with the parade, or Post 20's ceremony immediately following.
No, the price has already been paid, by the men and women of our military who are honored today.
Last week, local residents and citizens across the nation went to the polls to vote in local, state and national elections. A lot of men and women have spilled blood for us to have that right. They've died so we should have that right.
So today, take an hour to show your appreciation. Head Uptown at 2 p.m. and enjoy the annual Veterans Day parade. Your waves and cheers will be appreciated, I assure you.
Trainor is the senior staff writer at the Index-Journal. Contact him at 943-5650; email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter @IJCHRISTRAINOR. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper's opinion.