The voter

Published 8:39 am Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mr. Henry Wilson examined his recent activities. Running for congressman in the Fourth Congressional District against one Mr. Charles Forsythe, Henry calculated his strategies.

According to his consultants, those who voted in his district, leaned toward conservatism and disdained labels and petty debates. It seemed to Henry that people weighed such matters as the role of government on human society, fiscal responsibility and the long-range direction in which the world moved.

Henry geared his campaign to answer such questions and position himself as the candidate with vision and direction. With such insight into the decision-making process of the voters, he felt confident in the eventual outcome, allowing himself the titillating thought of an acceptance speech.

Mr. Charles Forsythe had spent a considerable portion of his fortune to present himself as the only “wise” choice for congressman in the Fourth District. In his estimation, the citizens carefully considered the issues confronting their locality and nation, choosing the candidate most representing their own values.

Meticulously choosing certain organizations for endorsement, he crafted a path he considered his constituents would embrace, including the freedom of the individual, emphasis on education, a pro-business platform and public safety.

Mr. Forsythe guarded his image whenever public, convinced the voters would embrace such high ideals.

When public speaking opportunities arose, he touted his understanding of such ideals and usually left feeling he had commanded the evening with his oratory while unpackaging the various roles of government and their application. Charles was hoping when the voter stepped into the booth, they would think long and hard about all the key issues and choose “Forsythe.”

As Becky Cook pulled into the parking space on election day, her 6-year-old son was once again at war with his younger sister. Head throbbing with its daily morning ache, she grabbed them both by the hand and forged her way into the polling arena to fulfill her civic duty.

With children in tow, Becky stepped into the cubicle, cautioned her children with a silent point of the index finger and pulled the curtain behind her.

“Henry Wilson, Charles Forsythe,” she murmured. “Henry was my Uncle’s name, but ‘Forsythe’ sounds important. ‘Forsythe’ is hard to say. My sixth-grade teacher made me say hard words. ‘Henry Wilson.’ Hmmmmmmm. Wasn’t there an actor with that name? Hmmmmmmmm. That’s easy to say. Has a good sound to it.”

With that, she darkened the circle beside “Henry Wilson.”

“Now,” she thought, “what shall I cook for supper tonight?”

Rex Alphin is a farmer, businessman and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His e-mail address is