(HOST) Despite her family’s long history of interest in politics, commentator Edith Hunter says it’s still a challenge to remain politically well informed.
(HUNTER) My father-in-law graduated from Princeton when Woodrow Wilson was president of the college. Mr. Hunter was an ardent Wilson supporter during Wilson’s term as president of the United States.
When my late husband, Armstrong and I became engaged, my future father-in-law came to my home to meet my parents. He was really taken aback by a large framed photo in our front hall of a gathering of “Bull Moose Republicans.” The gathering included Henry Cabot Lodge, Sr. Lodge made life miserable for President Wilson as Wilson tried to build up support for the League of Nations.
Our marriage survived this political diversity.
When our four children were growing up, we followed politics closely. When son Will was ten years old, he and his five year old brother Charles, invented an imaginary town, Billton, which held regular elections. Will was always the candidate, and little Charles was his entourage.
In real life, when Will was still in college, he ran and was elected for three terms as State Representative from Weathersfield, Cavendish and Ludlow. Following a hiatus to attend law school, he served two terms as one of Windsor County’s three State Senators.
Armstrong and I attended many political events. We soon discovered that, usually, one third of those in attendance were candidates, one third were members of the candidates’ entourage, and one third were genuine members of the public.
Those who are interested in politics are often almost fanatically so, while most people are not much interested, and are poorly informed.
But even those of us who are interested, often are not well informed. I really do not know much about the persons running for state Attorney General, Auditor of Accounts, Treasurer, or Secretary of State. In these races, most of us just vote along party lines.
We are better informed about gubernatorial candidates, the candidates for Lieut. Governor, our County Senators, and our Representatives. Helping us to become informed are news stories, letters to the editor, radio and television debates, and in Weathersfield, since 1988, the Evelyn Antonivich Forum.
Although named for a woman who had been an active Democrat in town, this is a bipartisan forum. Most recently it has been limited to races for Windsor County Senate and local Representatives. This gives the candidates time to respond with some depth to questions developed by a bipartisan panel.
Generally speaking, however, it is disturbing to think how uninformed most of us voters really are.
Writer and historian Edith Hunter lives in Weathersfield Center.