Games of a Serious Nature
I remember when I was in grammar school in Baxley, Georgia and the Georgia Governor's Election came around. Baxley was a small town in the 1940’s, the county seat of Appling County in the Southern part of the state, but all three major candidates came to town to campaign with a speech on the courthouse steps.
The courthouse square was loaded with townspeople, farmers in bib overalls and local shopkeepers who took some time away from their businesses to come and hear what the candidates had to say.
That - with the aid of a few posters and newspaper and radio ads - was about the only way to get the word out, barnstorming, stumping from town to town, getting up close and personal with the voters was the most effective way of campaigning in those days.
It was just a few years after the end of World War II and the nation was still in the transition of switching from a wartime economy to a peacetime economy, and although I was way too young to consider political speeches anything but boring, I'm sure there were lots of practical, economic issues that affected the state of Georgia but it seemed, the candidates got the biggest rounds of applause when they talked about social issues, bolstering the adage that all politics are local.
There was no electronic voting in those days, the ballots were hand marked and hand counted and the results of any election could easily be delayed for 24 hours or more.
I remember when I went to school on November 3, 1948 Thomas Dewey had been declared the winner in the presidential election. But when I came home from school that afternoon they had finished counting the vote and Harry S. Truman of Missouri had been declared the winner.
So much for sampling to call a tight race early in the days before computers.
I'm sure there was at least some limited polling, but it was nothing even close to the grand scale it exists on now and I don't even remember it being brought up when I was a kid.
Elections were serious business in those days, and people - at least in my part of the country - took them as such, up to and including heated arguments and the occasional bare knuckle fisticuffs, especially if the participants had had a few too many sips of the illegal corn liquor they had hidden in the trunks of their cars.
As a kid I used to hate the election season because the conventions, the election and all the follow-ups preempted my favorite radio shows, I mean how could Franklin Roosevelt possibly hold a candle to The Lone Ranger?
Well, we all know we've come a long way since those days, though I don't know if it's all good or not, I still kinda miss the days when everybody gathered around the courthouse lawn to hear a real live gubernatorial candidate try to talk them into voting for them.
It was kind of a cross between a circus, a high school football game and a family reunion, just another piece of Americana gobbled up by technology and fast times.
What do you think?
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— Charlie Daniels
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