Though I’ve been living in John Day for the last three months, I occasionally find time to follow the news from dear ol’ Stayton and believe that my heart stays pretty close to home wherever I go.
Also, since my earth shattering realization that I am the sixth generation of our family to live in Oregon, most of us in Stayton, my allegiance has been with our small town and my sincerest wishes for the community to prosper are usually at the forefront of my brain.
This is why I was so massively dismayed to read my voter’s pamphlet for the November elections.
While thumbing through the Silverton city council candidates on my way to Stayton’s section, I noticed a wealth of well-written pleas for voter support and was pleasantly surprised by the level of experience some of the candidates demonstrated.
Then I got to Stayton.
I will not express my political opinions or endorse any one candidate for mayor because my whole issue here, my entire cause for concern, is based on grammar.
Not one of Stayton’s three candidates for mayor demonstrated even a middle school level of grammatical understanding.
As I read their letters to voters I whipped out the red pen to preserve my own sanity.
To many, grammar seems superfluous and overly strict, and they would like to see the whole concept dumped out the window along with hoop skirts, iceboxes and the horse and buggy, but to me (and a heck of a lot of other writers I know) using poor grammar is almost a sign of disrespect.
When I picked up my voter’s pamphlet and read “every bodies” and “Graduated (with capital G)” and “budjet” it showed me that none of our candidates even exercised the simplest and most oft-used tool in any computer savvy person’s repertoire: spell check!
Candidates, were you really so hasty to get our vote that you couldn’t have at least one person (or computer program) check your writing?
I would have been happy to!
Sigh… I’m aware that my concern sounds trivial but it is my opinion that bigger problems stem from little ones, and if a candidate for mayor of our city is unable to spell words properly, how will he be able to effectively guide our community?
Perhaps you, dear readers, have your own reasons for choosing a candidate, and respect people for their opinions and political standpoints, but for me, one of the main heralds of my respect comes from clear writing and enough consideration to present a written plea to voters having read it through and edited it so it makes sense and implies that the reader is smarter than a fifth grader.
On that note I would like to congratulate our candidates for city councilor who all wrote clear, concise, and grammatically appropriate letters to Stayton voters!
Well done! Maybe next time the councilor candidates can help out our mayor hopefuls with their writing….
For now I will just say if you want my vote, you might consider respecting me enough to run spell check before you publish anything going out to voters!
Thank you and God bless America.