Thursday, November 8, 2012

This Election is History

No, I'm not referring to 2012, although it is now over and into the history books.

I'm thinking of the election stories I caught while I was interviewing the former students and teachers for this Pilot Mountain School project.

In a mock election in 1968, the school overwhelmingly selected independent candidate George Wallace with all but two votes. Those two went to Richard Nixon, leaving Democratic candidate, Hubert Humphrey with zero votes. The results were similar in the next cycle, Richard Nixon again winning.


This picture is in the book, although photoshopped a bit to remove the crease in the center. It was taken by one of the teachers during a mock election the year Nixon trounced McGovern. By that election date, Pilot Mountain School was mere months from closing its doors forever. The students holding those signs or cheering for a candidate were looking to a future that promised newness, not to the past of their grandparents.

Those very children now are grown and at the ends of their careers, successful for the most part. They have become the citizen leaders of the community and have led productive lives. As they went to the polls this past Tuesday, I wonder if they were thinking about this date in 1972 when they learned about the election process, or about the election of 1968 four years earlier when they were even younger, just barely old enough to comprehend. Probably not, but the democratic process requires training each generation in order to stay alive, in order to pass along the value of the freedom to vote and to have a voice in the future.

Hooray for Pilot Mountain School teachers who went to great efforts to hold mock elections.

They trained the future that we now know as the past. Think about that sentence and then think about the responsibility that is upon all our shoulders.

Catch of the day,


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