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Ah, the political season ... the smell of hooey (there's another name for this stuff) is in the air.
Two years ago at this time I said the Chiefland Citizen was not going to walk through the pig swill that accompanies political campaigns in Levy County.
Boy, did the stuff get deep in the sheriff's race. We were mired in it like quicksand. And it stunk to the high heavens. And the worst stuff did not come from the candidates. In fact, each and every candidate could honestly tell me, “No, I have not passed that stuff around” or “I did not say that.”
The worst stuff came from supporters in each camp. The stuff went viral around Levy County.
And everyone should have been ashamed of themselves.
You would think we had had enough. You would think the candidates could exert enough pressure to get their supporters to back off or to publicly disavow them.
Already folks are working feverishly on behalf of candidates for this year's county commission elections in Districts 2 and 4.
In 2012, I was asked repeatedly why the Citizen would not print the rumors in the sheriff's race. My stock answer: Because if I print the rumors on one guy I will have to print the personal stuff on your guy, too.
And you can skip the “Well my candidate is a good Christian,” response. No one is perfect. No one has led a perfect life. And in politics I can say many folks have not led perfect lives, in or out of office.
I know sin. It was impressed on me in my Catholic school upbringing. I have sinned. Over and over and over again and will in the future.
But there are some sins I can resist.
One I will resist is printing whispered information on one or the other candidate, especially information about family members who are not running for office.
Also, all that stuff is usually muttered or mailed anonymously won't get into print.
If you think it is important for people to know, put it in writing and sign your name to it. That's why we have letters to the editor. But avoid sending along something that will get us both sued because it is false or malicious. It will not make print.
My stand-your-ground defense is: The facts are correct and speak for themselves.
If you are offended by the publication of true facts, well, live with it.
Lies are what hurt us all, especially those uttered under one's breath.
* * *
On another note, candidates need to listen up.
County qualifying ends at noon on June 20.
Your free announcement in the Chiefland Citizen is due by 5 p.m., Monday, June 23. This is your opportunity for 500 unfiltered words to the voters with a photo (headshot only).
You can send it by snail mail to P.O. Box 980, Chiefland, 32644. Mail it well in advance of the deadline to assure it is in the post box by the deadline.
You can also send it via email to email@example.com. Ditto on the deadline.
You can bring it into the Citizen offices at 624 W. Park Avenue, Chiefland, by 5 p.m. June 23.
For those candidates without a photo, we will be happy to take your photo at our office if you call ahead to make an appointment.
If there is a runoff, your runoff statement is due the day after the primary by 5 p.m.
And for our readers, look for the invitation to the candidates' forums. The Chiefland Citizen, Cedar Key Beacon and Williston Pioneer Sun-News will be partnering with civic-minded organizations to sponsor meet 'n' greets with this year's crop of candidates.