To the Editor:
With the occurrence of each election cycle, more and more Americans are choosing to support and vote for candidates who do not have an “R” or a “D” after their name. That’s why it is not surprising that the Democratic Party of Jackson County disallows anyone unaffiliated with their party to participate in “meet and greet” opportunities (“Unaffiliated candidates denied access to party voters,” Sept 1 Smoky Mountain News).
Denying independent candidates access to the voters has nothing to do with to whom the party itself is loyal (as Democratic Party Chair Kirk Stephens would have us believe). It has to do with the party in power scared out of their wits and that independent thinkers (in other words, someone with a brain) might actually appeal to the voters.
I, like many citizens, am hard-pressed to vote for candidates from either of the two major parties. I want to hear from independent candidates like District Court Judge candidate Kris Earwood and others who have the courage to challenge the status quo.
The presumption that the lack of party affiliation hurts an independent candidate’s chances may have some truth. There are (after all) a lot of people who wrongly believe that electing only a Democrat or a Republican is somehow preordained by God.
Voters have witnessed the downside of having one political party continually in power. I cannot really blame them, considering incumbents seem to be re-elected time after time. That’s our failure, of course, not theirs.
If “eternal vigilance is the price of freedom,” unceasing distractions are the way politicians take away our freedoms. The two major parties have found a new wrinkle — suppress our ability to choose better leaders by squelching the voices of independent office seekers.
David L. Snell