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Daily Journal
     March 11, 2020      #85-71 KDJ

Ron Jackson; Debate adds substance to noisy

By Ron Jackson

Early voting has its advantages. If you are the type of voter who doesn’t require a lot of contemplation or enjoys reading campaign literature or buys into unbelievable political promises or you just want to get the process over with, it is not too difficult to make an early convenient choice of the lesser of two or more evils.

Of course, there can be a disadvantage to voting early. After casting an early vote, your candidate of choice could remove him or herself from consideration or your position on an issue could be influenced. Only once has my early vote for a candidate been voided by a person’s voluntary removal from consideration.

Although, I already had voted, I went to this week’s debate between the Kankakee County Auditor candidates for the March 17 primary election. First and foremost, a big thank you to the Kankakee County Branch of the NAACP and both candidates for a spirited, enlightening and civil, by political standards, presentation of agendas. It was good to actually hear the combatants speak on their own behalves as opposed to the outside, peripheral noise one often hears during political campaigns.

I went to Tuesday night’s debate expecting a dogfight. But a tennis match broke out.

Conspicuously absent was the typical noncompetitor’s noise associated with most sports that allow coaches, managers, agents, trainers, caddies, fans and vendors to chime in. The auditor’s debate between the incumbent and challenger was similar to the gentlemanly game of tennis. In tennis, once the match begins, there is no outside influence. Onlookers can focus on just the players on center court. This night, all eyes and ears were focused on just the two candidates.

It was eerily pleasant hearing just the two candidates volleying attributes back and forth. Both served well. Both tossed an occasional lob that compelled the other to give their best return. Both incited an occasional sigh from the equally respectful audience, and there might have been a response comparable to the involuntary grunt you sometimes hear during a tennis match. And both candidates actually provided personal character presentation that might have allowed interested voters to make an informed decision. Overall,it was mostly positive and entertaining.

As far as substance, more research effort on the part of voters might be necessary. Fact-checking might be in order to substantiate some claims. Both candidates seemed to possess the necessary education, qualification, credentials, experience, character and reason for wanting to serve the public. If you had your mind already made up, your candidate did not disappoint. If you were looking to be swayed toward one candidate instead of the other, you might have been disappointed. Without a doubt, the debate was well worth the free admission.

Neither candidate can be objectively declared the winner until the election results are final. No tennis match can end in a tie, but this one didn’t end in a pointless, love-love score either.

If you were not fortunate enough to see the debate, it is available for viewing on the Kankakee Public Library website. After all, the county auditor race is the most exciting race this election cycle. Watching the debate would be better than relying on biased, social media rants.

Ron Jackson can be contacted through the Daily Journal at editors@daily-journal.com.

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