I remember the good old days. Those days when North Carolina was ignored by the presidential candidates. Those days when North Carolina was considered either solidly Democratic or Republican. Those days when the presidential candidates spent their time and money in other places, like Florida. Yes, those were the good old days.
Now, North Carolina is considered a “battleground” state in the presidential election. We’re a state that both political parties feel they can win. They both have poured people, money and resources into our state trying to sway voters into voting for their candidate.
So now you can’t turn on the TV without seeing a Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump campaign commercial, almost always attacking the other. You change the channel, and there’s another one. (And it seems like it’s the same ones, over and over again.) The media may like the extra advertising revenue. But, for the rest of us, it has gotten old, fast.
It seems like almost every day there’s a presidential candidate, or one of their high profile friends, campaigning here in North Carolina. Let’s face it, when a candidate for president of the United States shows up in Kenansville, we must really be a “battleground” state.
Once again, I’ve been working over at Roseboro during the early voting period for the Board of Elections. The folks who work at the Roseboro town hall have been very welcoming and helpful during our stay. We’ve been busy with more people voting early this year, at least in Roseboro. I know the news reports on TV have portrayed voting at the polls as tension-filled, with everyone on guard and suspicious of each other. But it has not been the case at our polling place in Roseboro. (Well, at least up to the time I sent in this column.)
I know, we, and every local election official, are working hard and being careful to make the voting process as efficient, fair, and accurate, as possible. Trust me, no one wants a satellite truck from a TV news station sitting in front of the Board of Elections office on election night.
It seems like almost everyone who has come in to vote has been in a good mood. I think most of them are just glad to get it over with. They are not angry or disgusted. More than anything, voters seem to be disappointed. Disappointed in the lack of choices they have for president. Disappointed that they have to end up voting against a candidate, instead of for a candidate.
While you see the endless election commercials on TV, and the campaign signs along roads and streets, there is one campaign item you don’t see much of anymore. That’s bumper stickers. Years ago, you would see them everywhere, plastered on the rear bumper of cars or trucks, promoting a candidate.
Probably the best political bumper sticker I have ever seen actually appeared a year after a presidential election. Richard Nixon defeated George McGovern by a landslide in the 1972 presidential election. It was also the time of the infamous Watergate break-in, which would lead to the Watergate hearings and Nixon’s resignation in 1974. It was during that time that I started seeing everywhere, one of my all-time favorite bumper stickers. It said, “Don’t blame me, I voted for McGovern.” (I think if everyone who had that bumper sticker on the back of their car actually voted for George McGovern, the race would have been much closer.)
Thinking of that, it may be time for bumper stickers to make a comeback. I have one in mind that I’m afraid may be popular about this time next year. It’s a little long, but I think it may work. It simply says, “Don’t blame me, I didn’t vote for either one of them!”
Mac McPhail, raised in Sampson County, lives in Clinton and can be reached at email@example.com.