Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Voters To The Left Of Me, Voters To The Right! ...
An earlier post entitled "One And Done" - along with talk of deceit and corruption in politics and government brought to mind the following story of how incumbent Sheriff Clarence A. VanMeter won re-election to a second term as County Sheriff ... Clarence was being challenged by a well-known and worthy opponent in one Howard P. Slaughter, "Howie P." as he was affectionately known had just retired after 30+ years as a highly decorated and respected state policeman, having risen through the ranks to the attainment of captain, and was proud of the fact that he had never arrested a crook that he didn't like ... consequently, things weren't looking good for Clarence, as Howie P. appeared to be the more popular and qualified man for the job ... Clarence figured he needed to somehow gain an advantage over Howie P. ... so that night, a couple days prior to the election, Clarence recruited the aid of his head Deputy Sheriff Cletus A. VanMeter, who was also his first cousin, and the pair proceeded to the local cemetery with flashlight, pencil and writing tablet in tow ... Clarence ground the big V-8 to a halt in the middle of the gravel lane that divided the graveyard equally into two sections ... curious Cletus then enquired as to the purpose of this eerie, late-night visit ... had there been some type of theft or vandalism that necessitated their immediate investigation? ... to the contrary, Clarence explained that he was running way behind in the polls, and word on the street was that if something drastic didn't soon happen in his favor, there was no way he could beat Howie P. Slaughter in his bid for re-election as County Sheriff ... so Clarence was about to do a little last-minute, good ol' boy campaigning!
Sheriff Clarence A. VanMeter ordered Deputy Sheriff Cletus A. VanMeter to take flashlight, pencil and writing tablet in hand and go write down all the names he could find of eligible, registered voters from all headstones located to the left of the road while he remained behind in the patrol car to monitor the police radio and keep an eye peeled so they wouldn't get caught, besides, Clarence's eyesight was so bad he couldn't read the markings on the stones, especially in the pitch-black darkness - but more importantly, Clarence was deathly afraid of ghosts ... Cletus collected all the names he could find and returned to the car to show Clarence the results, he had done quite well and Clarence was pleased with the numbers thinking they would be sufficient to put him over the top ... Clarence then abruptly ordered Cletus back into the patrol car so they could scram before attracting unwanted attention ... Cletus, his countenance turning a bit ashen, his conscience eating away at him, hesitated for a moment before getting back inside the car, then he blurted out the following ... "Sheriff I just don't think what we're doin' here is right!" ... Clarence quickly admonished his cousin, advising him that without availing himself of the unscrupulous advantages of electoral fraud he would assuredly lose the election, possibly by a landslide, and they would both soon be out of a job ... to which Cletus nobly replied ... "oh that's not what concerns me Clarence, I just think that folks on the right side of this road have just as much right to cast a vote as those on the left!"
Clarence A. VanMeter went on to spend most of his entire adult life holding some form or another of public office, but one thing could be said of ol' Clarence ... he never forgot those folks that put and kept him there ... every Decoration Day, faithfully and without fail, he would place flags or flowers on the graves of his loyal constituents.