Letter to the Editor
Posted September 26, 2022
During my first experience as a politician canvassing the new 107th district I was amazed at what voters would discuss with a random stranger knocking on their door. These conversations sometimes went up to an hour. What started as a quest for signatures became an informal survey of the minds of the voters.
“I’m not a registered voter or my boyfriend. I don’t follow politics, but I can say the gas price is high.”
“What about the guy down the street with the tall grass? What can you do about that?”
“Look at all of the potholes.”
There were complaints about putting carbon underground in Taylorville, which was characterized as Chicago politicians trying to turn Central Illinois into a waste disposal area.
One local character jokingly suggested waving the local ordinance for public urination to help save money on water.
One person hurriedly signed before anyone else in the house found out. This wasn’t the only household I encountered with different political views within the family.
One couple went into a conversation about the lack of rights of fathers in custody battles and how the state government fails the children of divorce where the mother has issues.
“Are you a Trump fan?” With some, the conversation did not continue beyond this question.
Although, usually, the first question was, “Are you a Republican or Democrat?” My answer that I had lost faith in both parties almost always resulted in agreement. Even loyal Party supporters from both sides had complaints about their respective parties or candidates. Many on both sides were willing to sign the third-party petition.
The most interesting manifestation of our current politics was a small court with a house displaying cutout Biden and Obama statues in the window right next to a house with Trump signs including one with a “Brandon” phrase.
I generally avoided houses with “No Solicitor” signs. Those houses with people out front, however, ended up signing the petition after agreeing that both political parties have been a disappointment. In two cases, I did not see the sign, but they were just as friendly and signed. Evidently, politicians are not as awful as solicitors, so maybe there is hope.
The most serious conversations I had involved COVID. One person lost both parents, one directly and one indirectly. This person described how the hospital policies were mandated by the federal government and that they could not be changed despite extremely low success rate. This person discussed how the hospital maximized revenue when the treatment outcome was death.
This person had no say in the treatment of their parents. Other treatments like vitamins and anti-viral drugs violated the official COVID medical protocol laid out by the federal government. This person’s other parent died when cancer checkup visits were cancelled during COVID. By the time the other parent was able to see the doctor, the cancer was too advanced to treat. It was a powerful story and was the first time I had heard about a person who had died from COVID.
The treatment protocol from the COVID death story was validated weeks later when I talked to a healthcare provider who described the same adherence to a failed treatment protocol and the ban on alternative drugs. Based on the timelines and other details, it was clear that these stories were independent of each other. My takeaway from these stories was that many COVID deaths were avoidable.
One lengthy conversation was over the plight of fathers trying to win custody of their children. The Father’s Rights Movement is something I had heard of, but it takes on more significance when you hear a family’s story firsthand.
“Do you support the right to bear arms?” This question and similar Second Amendment questions made up what was probably the most common political issue that I was asked. The sentiment did not change after the Uvalde, Texas shooting.
The talk of mental health and armed security for schools became the first part of the conversation, but the overall belief was that owning guns is a Constitutional right. The large revenue that Illinois gets from the FOID card was another popular topic.
I talked to many people belonging to unions. Some wanted to hear about my thoughts about right-to-work laws. Ironically, most were not strong Democrats. They talked about the bad actors within their unions, both the underperformers in the ranks and the union leadership that, in their opinion, was not representing their best interest.
One complained about how non-Illinois companies can bypass our state laws regarding unions. One person complained about how some of their members, after supporting taxes and pensions, left Illinois to retire in low-tax Tennessee.
“Are you pro-life? Are you a Christian?” Some wouldn’t sign without intensive discussions of these topics. The most personal, private conversations I had were with these religious voters. One person suggested that Christians were more likely to be honest, a quantity that many I visited thought was rare in politicians. One person went into great detail about reversible vasectomies and reversible tube tying as ways to avoid abortions. I didn’t even know that these procedures were now reversible before knocking on their door.
“What is the CEO program?” I didn’t know but looked it up. High school students come to school an hour early. It teaches entrepreneurship. Very selective. The voter told me that the hope was that kids would graduate from this program and ultimately come back to Central Illinois to improve the local community.
Many signed just to support anyone willing to run for office.
Many state workers and the spouses of local politicians did not sign my petition, which I supported since they should avoid partisan politics, including third parties.
“I don’t know who you are.” This is probably the biggest obstacle to third-party candidates, as only the candidates themselves can answer that question. And with a larger signature requirement within the same limited time period, it is no wonder that we are left with only two choices.
What started out as a quest to collect signatures turned out to be a unique peak into the minds of the voters in Central Illinois. There were complaints of the failure of the government to do the job it is supposed to do. There was support for many conservative policies even by self-identified Democrats. Many not only talked about the issues but even presented solutions.
In a small way, I hope this article gives these folks an opportunity to have their voices be heard and to influence our local politicians.
Third-Party Candidate, 107th State Rep District