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Letter to the editor: Honesty, transparency is important in local elections

Editor’s note: Alex Floyd is currently running for the District 1 seat on the Bryan County Board of Commissioners.

Dear Editor,

“I believe America has been struck by a profound lack of decency and its making us weak. I’m not talking about or worried about a few isolated acts of indecency…. What I’m talking about today is a prolonged, sustained and seemingly unending age in which a lack of decency has become the norm. It’s the difference between a dry spell and a drought. One is noticed. The other is devastating.” An excerpt from A Deficit of Decency by Zell Miller

In a time where American’s faith in the national electoral process is at a low, I am proud of the faith that most of our citizens have in the local electoral process. The proximity of an election at the city and county level gives it a high amount of accountability and transparency. Our information is viewed and our votes are tabulated by people we know and hopefully trust (and we get a sticker). I only hope that the feelings of pride, accountability and transparency make it’s way down to the campaigning process especially in the arena of social media. I’m referring to the race for Chairman of the Bryan County Board of Commissioners.

In the past couple weeks, the Pembroke Enterprise and the Pembroke Journal have been added to the Historic Georgia Newspapers database by the University of Georgia giving a timely look back into the glorious Bryan County campaigns of olde. In those days, the paper was the social media and the libel and slander fence was much lower and easily jumped.

People who believe that campaigns are ‘muckier’ and less mannered than the old days need only to read a few primary sources. Nine-time Mayor of Pembroke and Editor of the Pembroke Journal Frank O. Miller was quite honest with his banner line “Liked by Many, Cussed by Some, Read by Them All” The difference is that in the Journal days these ink-sparring matches were never anonymous. If you spoke ill of someone, you signed it and you knowingly ran the risk of walking down Bacon Street and getting punched in the nose. Today much of our campaign discussion comes from anonymous and abstract Facebook groups with no names or pictures. Keyboard warriors, if they’re careful, have little chance of consequence. Am I saying we should go back to punching people in the nose? Absolutely not. I am saying, however, that if you have the gumption to contribute to as important an issue as your election for Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, you should have the gumption to put your name to it, not hide in internet anonymity.

Our campaign for Commissioner in District 1 has been open and has been a pleasure. All our thoughts and sharing, to my knowledge, have been accompanied by names and photos. We are proud of our platforms and stances on issues that matter to our people.

Among our three candidates, there has been no mudslinging or backbiting that I am aware of towards each other, and I sincerely hope that pattern remains true through this campaign and many campaigns to come. I look forward to the opening of early voting and the election process in Pembroke and Olive Branch because I know that all of North Bryan will conduct itself in a manner we can all be proud of.

Alex Floyd, Pembroke, Ga.

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