FIELD NOTES: And at long last…the election

By Record Editor/Publisher Laurie Ezzell Brown

I CAN’T BE THE ONLY ONE who feels ground down by what seems like an endless presidential campaign cycle. Well, the grand tease is almost over, having culminated this week in [drum roll] The Debate, our best and most urgent indicator that the end is near.

I couldn’t help wondering today, in the words of the great George Gershwin, “How long has this been going on?”

Full disclosure: I may actually have wondered, “How freaking long has this been going on?” But I’ve watched so many of the presidential primary debates that I’ve lost my gauge of what is currently considered acceptable language, and what isn’t.

My hunch: the bar has moved. Dramatically. As one example, I refer to the squirmish-worthy discussion regarding the size of certain parts of the male anatomy during the Republican Primary debates.

I’ll leave it to you, readers. The number is 806.323.6461, if you’re offended by “freaking.”

So how freaking long has the campaign been going on? Enlighten me, Google.

Slate magazine says the season began 644 days before election day. Could it possibly be only 644? Yes, they insist. That’s about the time former Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney was being told to make up his mind—“Are you in or are you out?”—and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took off for a junket to London with a full press contingent following. And it was then that NPR’s Cokie Roberts urged Secretary Hillary Clinton to get in the race so that voters would really get to know her.

As Slate noted, 644 days is enough time for some women to conceive and bear two successive children. Now how’s that for adding a certain gravitas to the timeline?

Still, it doesn’t sound nearly as long as it has felt. When I saw the video of Noah Ritter, aka “The Apparently Kid,” being interviewed by t.v. talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, I knew he understood.

When DeGeneres asked Noah what he was learning in Kindergarten, he replied, “I think they’re holding me…I don’t know how many hours…probably 11 hours. I dunno, it’s like I was in prison for ten days.”

Noah then demonstrated his newly-acquired grasp of math. “Five days…that’s a week. Ten days…a year.”

So perhaps Noah, too, has been observing the presidential race, and understands better than Slate the exponential impact of listening to 644 days of political bluster, braggadocio, crudity and eye-rolling, palm-to-the-forehead inanity—another nice word for the more questionable one I really want to say.

“Five days…that’s a week.” Yeah, Noah, and 644 days…that seems like a lifetime. A wasted one.

If you’re not familiar with Noah, then you are apparently not spending the proper amount of time on Facebook, which come to think of it, is much like spending a lot of time observing the presidential race. I’m often overwhelmed by the same sense of hopelessness and loss of faith in mankind.

Noah likes the word “apparently,” and uses it at every opportunity—sometimes multiple times in once sentence. Or he did, at least, until he adopted a new favorite word. “Seriously.”

I’ve been using that word a lot lately, too, as I follow the campaign news. The inflection is important, though. “Seriously?!?” So seriously, the election is now upon us. And if that sounds ominous, then my inflection was perfect.

In honor of this solemn occasion, The Record has already begun preparing a special Guide to the Election, which will be published two weeks from today, on Thursday, Oct. 13.

This Guide is a slight departure from the past. We’ve decided to gather everything our readers need to know about this election in one place, under one cover, in what we hope will be an easy-to-read and timely collection of voter information. It will be published two weeks before early voting begins on Oct. 24, offering plenty of time for reading and reviewing and cussing and discussing, in the time-honored tradition of political campaigns.

Our Guide will feature interviews with Hemphill County Attorney candidates Ty Sparks, the incumbent, and Kyle Miller, the write-in candidate, along with quick profiles of the other local candidates who are running for office, and who will be uncontested in the general election.

The Guide will also feature full coverage of the countywide local option election to legalize beer and wine sales, including answers to frequently-asked questions, complete Q&A with all of the facts and none of the fictions, about what the local option will do and won’t do. We are also inviting the comments of Hemphill County residents who want to sound off on what they think is at stake, and what they believe are the pros and/or cons of legalizing beer and wine sales.

If you would like to offer your views, we welcome your comments. Please submit your comments in 500 words or less by email to, or by mail to Editor, The Canadian Record, PO Box 898, Canadian, TX 79014, or just by walking through our front door at 211 Main with your thoughts inscribed on a piece of paper. All comments must be signed, and a telephone number included for verification—but not publication—purposes.

We will publish a fair and representative selection of those comments in our print edition, and will publish the rest online at The only ones we won’t publish are those that contain personal attacks or which are potentially libelous. Otherwise, you write it, and we’ll publish it.

In addition, The Guide will get you up-to-speed on important election dates, the FAQs about voter I.D., and how to locate your precinct polling place, as well as a copy of the sample ballot you will be filling out when you head for the polls.

In a final, and important note: We hope you will consider advertising in The Record’s Election Guide, to support the work we do in gathering this information, and the costs we incur in publishing it. While we provide what we and our readers believe is an essential public service to our community, we are only able to continue doing so through your financial support. Those dollar bills that we collect each week in paper sales are your vote of confidence in this newspaper and our continued enterprise, but your advertising dollars pay the real bills.

Without them, sustaining this newspaper and the service it provides will be far more difficult to guarantee.

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