1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



Dan Duff

In his column Back Talk Dave Shields wrote about his predictions for the upcoming elections. His first prediction was about those who were running un-opposed. They have either too much power and pull for anyone to put up a decent fight or their opponents are so weak either in character or money, they pose no threat, so they choose not to run against them. Usually these un-opposed incumbents are people who have been in office for some time or their name recognition is as well known as Michael Vick or Michael Jordan. Either way, it is a travesty for anyone to get elected to any office in these United States un-opposed. That is like telling the Detroit Pistons all the other teams are pulling out of the NBA playoffs and they being un-opposed as the NBA champions.
West Virginia has had two Senators for the last thirty years running un-opposed. They are embedded in the Senate by only one vote, theirs. These men neither owe nor give any loyalty to the State of West Virginia. They are paid by the treasury of the United States. Their hospitalization and retirement plans are from the government of the United States. The only ties they legally keep with the state is parcels of land somewhere within the state to keep legal residency.
Follow their votes in the senate and you will find that their true loyalty is with their political party. This they maintain with goose step precision. No matter what. These are the people the party puts out in front to run their offense against the opposing party or the wishes of the higher ups in the party because they are safe in knowing no matter how they vote or no matter what position they take on any bill or law or day to day operations of the senate, come election time they will be (by one vote, theirs) re-elected to the United States Senate.
This is how it works for anyone who is put into office un-opposed. From dog catcher for the city to President of the United States it is a very dangerous thing to give a man power and position without opposition. His loyalties are to himself. He will become an unchecked, unbalanced and untrustworthy servant of the people. Like most of us he, if given boundaries and answerable to the people, will be a good and dedicated servant, but give him the freedom of an un-opposed official and soon he will begin to build his own tower of tzar-hood that will lead to mayhem and mischief.
Children are the first to teach us what folly we bring upon ourselves if they are left unattended. How many times have you found yourself up to your eyeballs in a good juicy gossip session on the telephone only to suddenly realize you have left those darling offspring alone in the living room. See, even before I describe the scene you have conjured it up in your mind. The living room in just a short span time left un-watched has become something that could only be described as ground zero of a great explosion. My friends, this is exactly what we get from officials who are elected time and time again without opposition.
I implore you, no, I beg you, to seek out people to run for public office. If the entire community would commit to serve at least one term in an official office, I feel that ninety percent of the problems we face at the municipal, county, state and federal level would and could be eliminated. Then the government would truly be in the hands of the people.
I am sure that we would still be plagued by a few who would take advantage of their office to peddle power and corruption, but just like any community where the people and the city are watched closely, those would who would corrupt the system would soon be found out and replaced.
It is your community, your county, your state, your federal government. Politicians would have you believe that your power stops at the ballot box. I say it only begins there. We must always be vigilant, we must always be watching, we must always be asking questions of those who are elected to watch over us. It is our obligation and our job.