Came Aknockin'
Off The Wall, May 14, 2010

For years now, I have always stressed that if I was going to vote for anybody in an election, it was almost mandatory that the candidate knock at my front door so we could talk over policy.

Well, the other day my wife and I were cleaning our humble abode when we heard a knock at the front door. Now, mind you, few people stun their knuckles on our big white door. I have gotten used to hearing the rapping from the United Parcel deliveryman, the Schwann’s Frozen Food salesman, and my friend and good buddy, Tom.

So, when the sound echoed up our 13 stairs, we both looked at each other mysteriously especially since it was a late Saturday afternoon. Not one of those three mentioned would have shown up at not only that time of the day, but the hour as well.

So, I didn’t waste a second. I propelled myself down our carpeted steps and grabbed the doorknob and gave it a twist. Opening it, I pulled it open. Standing outside was a distinguished looking gent, dressed formally with a white shirt and tie.

“Hi,” he said, “I’m Tim Burns and I am running for Congress.”

Well, you could have blown me over with a feather. What a tremendous, wonderful surprise.

You may have recalled sometime back, upon visiting the local fire station where I regularly vote, a young man approached me and asked me to vote for him as a write-in. I told me with a one word answer that I would not for the simple reason that he did not come to me before the election and not only tell me what he stood for, but related information as well. Even though I know persons by name or have seen them around town, how do I really know if they are qualified for a job prior to elections? Maybe to others, it just a matter of party preference whether one votes one way or the other, but not to me.

So, here was a gentleman whom had taken the time out from his busy schedule to come to our residence and discuss issues. No matter what I asked, his philosophies seemed to fall right in line with my thoughts precisely. After a while, I sensed he would be my choice for as a candidate for congress.

“You know,” I mentioned, “it’s been a long time since a candidate knocked at my door to tell me how he or she felt about what was going on in our towns, government, and what improvements could be made over what was occurring with present officer holders.” I further added, “The last person who I believe spent three years doing what you are doing was Jess Stairs, whom at that time was running for the House of Representatives. I know how much he wanted to acquaint himself with residents throughout the area because I accompanied and photographed him as he set out to meet as many people as possible before he succeeded and was elected to his the seat he was seeking.”

Anyway, by now, most of you whom have read my columns over the many years know where I stand on various issues. I believe to find someone who falls in line with my ways of thinking is a godsend at best.

People need not ask, for instance, if I believe in abortion, pro-choice or pro-life. Fellow Latrobeans know that I am a God fearing person and try to live by the principles laid down by my Creator. I have never discussed the gun issue, but I will tell you this. A weapon is and of itself no more dangerous than a highway. It’s how it’s used that becomes the focal point. I have heard about motorists being killed on straight stretches of roads as well as windy ways. If proper speed was used in the operation of these vehicles, chances are in the greater percentage of cases, the drivers may still be alive today.

I know there are so many more considerations that one has to sift through before a choice is made whether to vote for someone or not.

Why can’t people seem to understand, it is so important to touch base with voters rather than put signs along highways, in front yards of homes or on bumper stickers plastered all over kingdom come?

After I had the confrontation at my voting poll, I thought a lot about it afterwards and wondered if I should have given in. But Tim Burns proved to me that there are two ways of going about procedure – the other way or his. I am most grateful he “came aknockin’.”

- Paul J. Volkmann
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