Apr 27, 2010

From the desk

by Amanda Sullivan

There are two things in this world that I severely dislike: apathy and phony personas, especially among leaders. Whether they are elected political leaders, pastors or persons raised to some sort of authority, leaders possess the ability to greatly impact the people around them with their life decisions. Every decision, small or large, is met with a consequence. Although, the word “consequence” generally has a negative connotation, that is not always the case. Some results are positive. 

In my positions as editor in chief of the Champion and as a prayer leader on student leadership, I am held to a higher authority than many people. The same is true for celebrities and local politicians. However, most people seem to forget that their words and actions will affect other peoples’ lives. 

Recently, it seems the growing trend is to avoid offending anyone and attempt to please everyone, especially in local politics. I could be wrong or misinformed, but the fact that Lynchburg’s candidates for city council are comprised of four Independent candidates, four Republican candidates and zero Democratic candidates leads me to believe I am on the right track. Please understand that I am in no way advocating one party over the other; I just want to know where people stand. 

The democratic process has worked in America for years. Some could argue that the United States has one of the better governments in the world – despite how unhappy people may be with the process at the moment. Although there is tension among the Democratic and Republican parties, at least Americans have a general idea on the different opinions of the candidates. But the local candidates running for Lynchburg’s City Council with no party affiliation have created a guessing game of sorts for Lynchburg voters concerning moral and ethical values. 

In fact, it seems that Lynchburg has decided to do away with the Democratic Party altogether as the community has created a democratic alter-ego known as Lynchburg First. The organization has no official political affiliation, but the group only endorsed independent candidates – all of which are backed financially by local democratic supporters such as Elliot Schewell and Valentine for Delegate, according to vpap.org. Lynchburg First doesn’t want to offend its patrons by actually endorsing a candidate with some political affiliation. 

However, the let’s-not-offend-anyone attitude has fostered a sense of apathy among those declaring sides, blurring the party lines that were once well-defined colors of red and blue to create a nice purplish color. It seems that most politicians prefer to declare “independent” on the ballot. So now the real question is: what qualifies a candidate to be truly independent? 

I think the definition is the biggest issue with the pseudo-party because, in reality, the Independent party has no explanation. My research has shown several variations as to what it means to represent the Independent party. The party is a product of American’s dissatisfaction with traditional election methods, which is fine if those declaring themselves as independent know what they are representing. However, I don’t see how creating a party that doesn’t really stand for any principles is conducive to the success of this city – despite the belief that party affiliations do not belong in local politics. It’s apathetic. 

It seems the independent party is just another way to blur commitment issues. So, local politicians, here is my non-committal nod to you. I bet campaigning would be easier if you knew whether or not I supported your platform… but that’s one secret that will remain in my hat.

As for you, the reader, it is now your civic duty to make sure that you have done your research prior to casting you ballot on election day, May 4. Be smart, and please be well-informed.


Contact Amanda Sullivan at


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