Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Responses and Reflections on Character

Certain events, including winning and losing elections, bring to light the essential character of those on whom the light shines at that moment. Perhaps run-off elections where final victory is on vacation and the future is uncertain presents a situation that is even more telling about the person and their values. Dustin Tracy, the reporter for the Northwest Arkansas Times seems to have captured such comments from Mayor Dan Coody and Vice Mayor Lioneld Jordan, the two candidates who will be facing off again on November 25th.

Dan Coody led the field of six with 37% of the vote. “Coody said he was not surprised with the results, stating that he knew a runoff was in the future. ‘I just didn’t know who was going to be in it,’ he said. He added that he was happy with his high percentage of votes. …’It’s quite the affirmation of all the work we’ve been doing.’ Coody, who’s served as mayor for eight years, has told Fayetteville to vote for him and 'keep a good thing going.'"

Coody's response, like his whole campaign, was focused on himself and his claim of agency for everything good that has happened in Fayetteville during the last eight years. All of the hiccups like the $68 million sewer debacle and his consistent budget deficits were not his responsibility but the fault of someone else. It is a view of reality that let's one engage in self-affirmation when 63% of the voters choose someone else.

According to the same article, Lioneld Jordan, who finished second, said, "'I just want to thank the people of Fayetteville for allowing me to be in this runoff.' Jordan has been a Ward 4 alderman for eight years and has served as the city’s vice mayor. He’s campaigned on the platform that he’s a man of the people and is working specifically for them. He’s stated that his top priorities are restoring the people’s trust in government, taking responsibility for action and assuring accountability to the people for the performance of their government."

"'I think Steve Clark and Walt Eilers were absolutely great competitors and had great ideas,' Jordan said. He said that Sami Sutton and Adam Fire Cat showed great community involvement and he respected them. He also applauded Jeff Koenig, who dropped out of the mayoral race at the end of April because of health issues." Jordan appeared to acknowledge that everyone can contribute to the future of our community, and he seems willing to listen to their ideas and appreciate those contributions.

The two candidates probably agree on many issues. However, they have quite different views on what the election is about and who is most important.

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