Four more years - Shawn Loughlin editorial
The votes have been (unofficially) cast and candidates are either basking in the thrill of victory or suffering the agony of defeat. To go back to Seinfeld’s Frank Costanza, who is quickly becoming the patron saint and North Star of this column, guiding it gracefully to where it needs to go: “I’ve got a lot of problems with you people. Now, you’re gonna hear about it!”
There’s a thought, written or unwritten, that journalists such as myself should stay out of the opinion game when it comes to an election. As votes are being cast, we do our best not to sway public opinion one way or another. Our impact, even if we were to weigh in, could be debatable. But, unlike a big daily newspaper that endorses candidates and writes editorials meant to guide voters one way or another, we think it’s right to just let the vote play out.
Now, however, decisions have been made and here are a few observations from my desk.
First off, voter turnout. Come on, guys. As I churned out quick stories on the results for our website on Monday night, I was proud of a community when it cracked the 50 per cent mark for voter turnout (only one, Goderich, at least according to those that reported that figure). I had to stop myself and think about just how abysmal a voter turnout of half is.
Secondly, the results. There were some races in the community in which, frankly, I wouldn’t have wanted to vote. In Central Huron, for example, Jim Ginn and Dave Jewitt were both very qualified for the mayor’s position. Choosing between them would have almost been a coin flip for me, so I didn’t envy the voters in Central Huron.
In some of our other communities, the surprise really was how many poor candidates received votes. Either people didn’t read up on the candidates, attend all-candidates meetings or just committed themselves to voting against an established name on the ballot, but regardless, the number of votes cast for mean, childish and dishonest candidates is baffling.
Sure they lost - in some cases rather badly - but the fact that votes are even being sent in some of these directions is quite disheartening.
Then we come to the school board trustee race. The Citizen has been called out for not providing enough information on the people running for these positions and that criticism is valid. To be fair, these races had always been a bit sleepy, featuring well-intentioned, if imperfect, people wanting to get involved in the education system, giving it their best.
Citizen Founding Publisher Keith Roulston has often made the point that every time the school board has grown (from one-room schools to the community to the county to now two counties) people have gravitated further and further away from their representation.
Now, however, something more sinister appears to be afoot. As reported by numerous outlets (and tackled by Publisher Deb Sholdice on page four), there seems to be a concerted effort to install “anti-woke” trustees in school boards across the province in an effort to roll back the curriculum on certain flashpoint topics that concern extreme right-wing voters.
We saw that in our area. Whether it was Mr. Litter Box, Captain COVID-isn’t-real or Colonel Can’t-trust-the-government, we had people wanting to be school board trustees who, frankly, didn’t appear to have the best interests of Huron County children at heart. Disheartening to be sure, but a reminder that we need to remain vigilant when we vote.
The next four years will be challenging and we’ve now chosen our leaders. Let’s hope we didn’t screw it up.