This morning I was voter number 85 at 6:40 a.m. My daughter, Bailey, came home from Pitt State last night, so she could vote in her first presidential election.

Since she had to be back for a 9:45 class, we decided to get up early and beat the crowd. We showed up a bit after they opened at 6:00. By using my math prowess I am guessing there were 84 people who had the same idea, but set their alarms a bit earlier.

The irony is that when I went by at 7:30 on my way to work there was no line! Oh well, we enjoyed Bailey’s maiden voyage in cool, misty morning talking to friends and neighbors.

When you read this the election will over. Well, we can only hope it is over! Assuming no hanging chads, voter fraud, cyber-attacks on our electronic voting machines, or alien invasion, we should know who our next president will be come January.

I cannot remember another time when the presidential election was about which candidate people dislike the least. Having said all of this, here are some thoughts about the election and running for public office.

First, I remember as a young child learning about the presidents of this country and the reverence that was given to the men who had led our nation. It was a noble duty to which anyone could aspire.

Somewhere in the world of electronics, social media, 24/7 news coverage and power-seeking (rather than servant-minded) candidates, we have arrived at a place where the political scene is one of distaste, lack of civility, and downright hatred at times.

As a parent, I don’t believe I could encourage my daughters to aspire to that world. It seems like forever ago when my classmates and I would make speeches about how we would get better food in the cafeteria (we couldn’t do that), softer benches to sit on (couldn’t do that either), etc. and even give a compliment to our opponent. After the class election we were all still friends and even sat at the same table to eat the unchanged lunch.

Second, does anyone campaign on what he/she can accomplish? I emailed one of the gubernatorial candidates because I wanted clarification on some of his views on public education. I thanked him for his service and willingness to run, and then posed a few questions.

I received no response. Just to insert a bit of irony, it is funny to me that one candidate may have won the primary by firing his automatic weapon, and the other candidate is supported by NRA.

I digress. I am sure that everyone will be happy when the mudslinging is over. To me it is embarrassing that this is how our younger generation views politics.

Finally, I have two requests. First, can we please shorten the election cycle? It appears that the life cycle of a turtle is shorter than the time it takes for us to elect a president.

Second, and I’m sure a historian can email the technical rationale, why do we need the Electoral College. Sometimes I feel like the only value of the Electoral College is for Tim Russert wannabies to be able to use whiteboards on election night to keep score.

Bottom line, God Bless our Country! Have a great week.

By Dr. Jim Cummins

(Dr. Jim Cummins is superintendent of the Seneca R-7 School District. He can be reached at jcummins@senecar7.com.)

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