Without a shadow of doubt – I can confidently state that I am a pessimist. Not a proud pessimist. Just a pessimist.
I am constantly moaning and groaning about something. My co-workers will agree. I tend to locate the negative in a pile full of positives (as if such a thing exists).
Call it what you want. A moment of weakness perhaps. But I was thoroughly impressed with the turnout at last week’s political forum sponsored by the Manchester Times and broadcast by Thunder Radio. Not only was I impressed with the candidates, who all followed the rules and didn’t file one complaint, but with the crowd in attendance.
At different times throughout the evening the crowd was estimated at just over 200 strong – many were ordinary citizens searching for answers.
For weeks I have soaked this page in ink begging for the community to be involved in the election process and for weeks I feared my concerns would go unaddressed. But the attendance and listeners on the radio have eased my concerns somewhat. Now I just hope they continue to stay involved and get to the polls by Aug. 7 and cast strong, educated votes based on information they obtained through personal research and not social-media politics.
I would also be negligent if I did not give kudos to the candidates (a group that can easily catch the brunt of everyone’s pessimism). It has become so common to hear complaints that I have become jaded over time and simply expected someone to complain about table placement, the speaking schedule or the rules Thursday night.
But not once did I hear a serious complaint.
Candidates across the board did a wonderful job.
I understand that some may have performed better than others and some struggle to speak in front of a large audience when asked questions on the spot. But not one candidate skipped out or tried to pass the opportunity because they were worried. They all attended and gave it their best.
Efforts like those that were given from all sides Thursday night are the fruits of the labor and extended hours put in by several people to make events like this possible for the citizens to take advantage of.
Efforts like those, over time, tend to wear on a community in a positive way. Perhaps even bringing some optimism to the most pessimistic among us.
-Josh Peterson is the editor of the Manchester Times. He is a Tennessee Press Association award-winning writer and photographer. His column, “From the editor’s desk” won TPA first-place honors for best personal humor column. He can be reached by firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 931-728-7577 ext. 105. Click here to follow him on Twitter @joshpeterson29