Politics can bring out the worst – and best – in everyone | NevadaAppeal.com

Politics can bring out the worst – and best – in everyone

As if the constant barrage of the 24-hour news channels – which probably should be called politics channels – weren’t enough, I’m forced to deal with candidates’ pitches every time I open my e-mail.

Every few days I get e-mails giving me the latest schedules of Hillary, Obama, Christopher Dodd, Joe Biden and Bill Richardson.

(Isn’t it funny how some politicans are immediately recognized by their first names, others by their last and still others require both names to jog the memory?)

Since I’m a long way from Iowa or New Hampshire, I’m not likely to show up at any of their events. Even if they came to Nevada, I’m not likely to be there. The highest elected office I cover, or care about, is Lyon County Commissioner.

But, since I’m a member of the media, I still get the e-mails, appropriately filed under “junk” in the Appeal’s e-mail system.

In addition to their schedules, I get to find out what they think of themselves. Here’s the headlines of a few e-mailed press releases (their opinions, not necessarily mine):

• Governor Bill Richardson Strongest Candidate for American Working Men and Women

Or what their “issue of the day” is:

• Hillary Clinton Announces Plan To Address Mortgage Lending Abuses

I don’t get any e-mails from the Republican presidential candidates, who are scarcely seen in the Silver state.

That may change as we get closer to Jan. 19, when both parties will have their presidential caucuses.

I’m not totally negligent where politics are concerned. I vote and one year I was even a poll worker. But being hit with avalanches of propaganda on a daily basis has dampened my enthusiasm, to say the least. And the TV commercials haven’t even begun.

In tiny Silver City, the Democrats have already claimed the Silver City Schoolhouse as their caucus location, but Town Board Chairman Erich Obermayr thinks it would be good to have the Republican caucus there too.

In Virginia City, the Democrats usually hold their presidential caucuses in the upstairs banquet room of the Delta Saloon. The upstairs bar is not open, but no one objects if you bring your drink from the downstairs bar.

The Republicans in town haven’t had caucuses, or even a formal organization, for years, maybe since they’re the majority, they don’t feel they need one. But with the moved-up primary and the large number of presidential candidates, maybe they’ll do it this year.

Having both Democrats and Republicans holding their caucuses in the same place, with alcohol present and more than 10 candidates per party, might reawaken even my interest in presidential politics.

Actually, the year I was a poll worker increased my faith in the political system.

It was 2004, and I worked the Lockwood area of Storey County, helping people learn about and use the new electronic voting machines. Lockwood is an area of trailers and modular homes, with mostly low to middle income residents.

During the primary election, one man, who looked to be in his late 30s, wanted to vote but had not registered properly. He was a laborer, had never voted before, and didn’t seem to be too quick on the uptake. Some of the other voters in the room who knew the man snickered at him as he left.

The manager of the Lockwood Mobile Home Park promised to help him register properly in time for the general election, which he did.

At the November election, the man came back, sample ballot in hand. Unlike some of the snickerers, this man had done his homework, knew who he wanted to vote for and handled the voting machines with ease.

When he was finished, he threw his hands in the air and exclaimed, “I’m a voter!”

He was about as proud of himself as I was of him, and our country.

Maybe I’ll try to get that feeling back next year. If they stop e-mailing me.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111 ext. 351.