For some reason, elections have been on my mind lately.
It feels like everybody is more uptight about this one than usual. That’s probably a misperception. The truth is, everybody’s always uptight at election time. It’s just easy to forget the tension when it’s all over.
When the dust settles, we are left with some colorful memories.
I’ve always loved politics. I can remember our good friend, Jimmy White, during one of his campaigns for re-election as Fayette County Probate Judge. He had these styrofoam hats that we wore all over town. I thought it was a hoot.
Of course, that was back in the days when Governor Lester Maddox rode a bicycle backwards for attention. I thought that was stupid, because I was pulling for his opponent, Bo Callaway. His bumper stickers said, “Go Bo!” I’m sure nobody found it ironic that I was running around criticizing the governor for riding a bike backwards while I was wearing a styrofoam hat for one candidate and chanting “Go Bo” for another.
Campaign buttons have been around forever. In the 1970’s, Daddy bought the building in Fayetteville where his office still is. As we renovated it and removed the floor, we found some stairs that led to another level that had been forgotten for decades. In it were costumes from the days when the building was a theater, drug store items from when it was a pharmacy, and a curious cylinder-shaped wooden container. I opened it and found inside a campaign button for Joseph E. Brown. He was Georgia’s Governor during the Civil War.
Since those days, there have been many political battles.
Do you remember Margie Lopp? She was the elderly lady from Cuthbert, Georgia who sang the jingle in a commercial for Paul Coverdell.
What about Bo Ginn (another Bo that ran for governor)? He had a commercial with a jail door closing as he said to drug dealers, “Pusher, meet the slammer.”
In 1980 President Jimmy Carter debated his challenger, a movie star named Ronald Reagan. All anybody remembers about that debate is Reagan chuckling and quipping at Carter, “There you go again.” That race was supposed to be tight. Newsweek magazine had a cartoon on the cover that showed Carter barely edging ahead at the finish line. Of course, that didn’t happen. Carter conceded defeat before the polls had even closed in California. My college roommate, a liberal, went out that night and got drunk.
No matter what anybody says, you don’t know how one of these things will turn out until we all vote. So candidates keep fighting to the end.
They tell a story about a state representative from Fayetteville many years ago. He and an aide went around the town square stopping at businesses and asking anybody that was in there to vote for him. One guy said, “I hate your guts. I wouldn’t vote for you if you were the only (you know what) in the race.”
The candidate turned to his aide and said, “Put him down as doubtful.”
See why I love politics?