Kudos to Pickens County voters for their turnout for the special election held April 1. With only two seats open during this special election, a low voter turnout would not have been unexpected and would have been the norm, under most circumstances.
Leading up to this particular day at the polls there had been a great deal of political activism within the community, despite the small number of offices being contested, and in the face of historical performance, the county’s voters put their money where their mouths were.
Anytime there is an election, midterm or otherwise, being involved by casting a ballot is the most basic fundamental portion of our political system, as is the freedom to NOT vote. That’s one of the great things about being an American: the right to not choose. This particular special election was far more important locally than most outsiders would have assumed looking in, especially where the voter is concerned.
The Pickens County School Board has been a lightning rod in local politics and the community has run hot and cold since the need for a special election was announced with the resignation of Ben Trotter. There were calls for change by many local parents and organizations and although the election of one official doesn’t constitute change, it does call for a fresh start.
Many in the Pickens County school district saw this vote as a referendum on the board and its direction. Now that the votes have been cast and Brian Swords will be the newest member of the board, the time has come to move on.
Accept the fact there will be dissension and disagreement among the board’s members, accept the fact there may never be a consensus on most issues, and accept the fact you won’t always agree with the final decisions our board has made and may make in the future.
Remember, before the expectations are too high and the time allotted to attain them too short, that change is painful and slow and is often accompanied by fits and starts and even the occasional misunderstanding.
The time has come for all concerned to take a breath, exhale, and remember to be patient. If the change that was so important before the votes were cast remains as important now, a clean slate is the appropriate starting point.
It’s time to put away the old arguments and begin again, but this time, those who were active for change must remain involved for tomorrow to be better than the day before.