Four-Year Itch | News | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Four-Year Itch 

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Debates. Television ads. And lots of talk. Some of it is rehearsed and deliberately vague, some of it refreshingly honest, some of it downright nasty.

It’s election time, when America’s civic life seems on the verge of falling off the rails. Every four years, our country goes absolutely crazy. If you love freedom and democracy, then you’ve got to love election time. Why some people don’t will be forever beyond me.

Among 18- to 34-year-olds, there exists the irresistible urge to whine, bitch and moan about political affairs. Yet this same group of people, especially in the 18-25 bracket, rarely bother voting. In fact, if candidates don’t actively seek out handshakes and look them in the eye for conversation, they feel hurt. But of course candidates will never do that, unless and until younger Americans vote in proportion equal to the more senior members of society. Want a politician’s time? Register to vote, and then you’ll get attention. It rarely works the other way around, pal.

This issue represents the first time this paper has attempted something as all encompassing as an “Election Issue.” It isn’t perfect, it certainly isn’t as complete as it could have been, but it was researched and assembled with lots of passion and enthusiasm by our staff. You’ll notice right off the bat that not every candidate was interviewed, or even necessarily mentioned. This happens for a variety of reasons, some deliberate and some not so deliberate. Sometimes a candidate never answers our phone calls or requests for an interview. Some races we just didn’t have room to cover, or chose not to cover because the outcome seemed almost preordained in thoroughly Republican Utah. In the case of some third-party candidates, Green Party gubernatorial candidate Patrick Diehl, for example, we know they exist. But it would be folly to pretend Diehl has any chance of prevailing over Huntsman or Matheson.

First, we wanted to give our readers something different from the staid and studious analysis of the two dailies. Let the mainstream media interview candidates sitting on folding chairs with a pitcher of water on the table. We wanted a modicum of issues, plus a little fun and some unusual questions. Why not attempt to interview candidates at Burt’s Tiki Lounge or Chuck-A-Rama? If, as the old adage goes, you can learn more about a person’s temperament and character during a game of golf than in one casual meeting, then surely it says something about candidates’ capacity for risk if they’ll meet you someplace unusual, outside of campaign headquarters. In some political circles, capacity for risk still counts for something.

Officially, at least, City Weekly eschews political endorsements. Tepidly constructed editorials in favor of oh, say, Ellis Ivory, aren’t for us. But we are interested in discovering how far out on a limb some candidates will go. Frankly, if any candidate professes adherence to Judeo-Christian values, they damned well better be able to reel off all Ten Commandments. If they use public transportation, it’s our opinion they’re probably more likely to be in touch with the common person. If they know how much money a woman earns per dollar compared to a man, the more likely it is that they have an eye on balls that matter most, as opposed to those that don’t. But that’s just us. Call us wrong if you want to. It is a free country, for the time being.

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