Oh, if only there could be this much excitement about a real election.
The News-Times contest to name an honorary "mayor" of the non-existent city of Evans drew more than three dozen nominations with an incredible " and sometimes pretty laughable " group of candidates."
Contrast that with, say, the most recent school board elections, in which two candidates didn't even draw opposition! It's enough to make you wonder about the participatory process of politics.
Sure, it's tough for anyone running for a real election. They have to shake hands and raise money to mount a serious name-building drive in the media to convince voters to trust them with representative office. The newly elected official then has to immediately battle the perception that he or she has simply joined a fraternity of self-serving crooks.
How refreshing, then, to participate in an election without cynicism, attracting candidates who, instead of promoting themselves, are suggested for service by friends, family members or neighbors.
Sure, the contest is just a spoof. But it has provided a good opportunity to talk about tough issues confronting Evans as the community basks in the glow of being named by Money magazine as the 32nd best place to live in America.
The foremost example of such an issue is the just-unfolding conversation about incorporating Evans as a real city, and then consolidating it with Columbia County. Seizing on the opportunity to discuss the hot topic, Columbia County's Democratic Party on Aug. 29 is bringing in Dr. Ralph Walker, one of the architects of Augusta's consolidation.
This little contest didn't start that discussion, but it's sure interesting to see how it has helped raise the profile of everything Evans is about " especially the thorny problems of bad traffic, overcrowded schools and unbridled growth.
The "mayor" of Evans, unlike the real politicians who actually have to get results once elected, will be fortunate to hold a title that's entirely honorary. But we wouldn't at all be surprised to find that the eventual winner, once seeing the attraction of meeting citizens' expectations, may decide to one day become a real politician.
And that is serious business.
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