Leslie Sorrell missed the point of Slim Smith’s column entirely, or so it seems to me. The columnist asserted a correlation between voter involvement and a choice of detailed programs to address our common problems. He did not attack the candidates, nor did he denigrate anyone. He goes so far as to write, “after the June 8 general election, those who form our city council may turn out to be great leaders and effective representatives.” Rather, he decried the lack of proposed programs from which to choose.
The issues before Columbus voters are the same for all parties. Everybody wants better roads and sidewalks, better city services, better schools and better crime control. Some of us want city government transparency. We would like to do all these things with the very few dollars available to the city. Every candidate supports all these things. So how to choose among the candidates? Mr. Smith suggests that we choose according to their plans. He goes on to write that a serious candidate would spend time “coming up with four or five specific ideas about the solutions and what those solutions would require.”
Ms. Sorrell writes that “it is the candidate’s job to get the job.” Perhaps so, but it is the voter’s job to select the candidate he or she prefers. Mr. Smith points out that if there are no choices to be made other than whom one likes better, why bother to go to the polls?
Ms. Sorrell writes, “the arrogance of the columnist to suggest he would be a better candidate is appalling.” Mr. Smith actually wrote, “It seems to me, if I were running for office and was serious about it, I would… “ And finishes the thought with, “I would expect no less from any competent, serious candidate.” He does not even say that if he were to run, he would be as good as the people actually running, only that he would have a plan.
She finishes by saying, “It is painfully clear that he has his own agenda as opposed to seeking and reporting the truth.” If his agenda is to increase voter turnout or to encourage proposed solutions to problems by the seekers of city offices, then that part of her accusation may be true, but how that leads to his being “opposed to seeking and reporting the truth” is entirely beyond me.
Finally, she represents the candidates as daring, selfless leaders exposing themselves to humiliation and distress. It would seem that they are being dragged into public service only by a sense of civic duty. She seems to imply that it is therefore completely wrong to criticize them. Selfless they may be, but above criticism? Really?