Reaping What We Sow

From time to time, I like to think nostalgically back to those days when the “silly season” of political campaigning was actually just a season — rather than the year-round, “all-day/every-day” media construct we are plagued with nowadays.

From time to time, I am also reminded that this “charming” nostalgia of mine is probably more closely aligned with sentimentalism than with historical reality. Political mudslinging has a long and “honored” tradition in the American political arena, and frustration over current levels of mudslinging should not cloud that fact.

Still, no matter how unsentimental one may be, this story seems both unusually bizarre and highly indicative of some of the subtler changes that have gone on in society in the midst of the on-going-and-omnipresent mudslinging:

An Oklahoma judicial candidate is fending off a political attack from his daughter, who has taken out a local newspaper ad urging voters: “Do not vote for my dad!”

McClain County judicial hopeful John Mantooth’s daughter and son-in-law paid for the quarter-page advertisement, which features a picture of the daughter’s family, highlights cases in which Mantooth has been sued and lists a website the couple started, http://www.donotvoteformydad.com.

The website, which has attracted over 495,000 hits, seems to be a bit of a strange beast, particularly in its recounting of one of the more …unusual Christmas -time stories you’ll ever hear. But despite the peculiarity of the situation from a political stand-point, the root-cause behind the story seems sadly straight-forward:

John Mantooth married Elizabeth Russell on May 28, 1969.  They had two daughters, Susan and Jan. They divorced October 2, 1981.  Six months later on April 7, 1982, John married Eileen Meredith.  They had one daughter, Meredith.  They divorced May 14, 1992.  9 months later on February 14, 1993, John Married Robin McColley in Bexar County, Texas.  They have no children from their marriage.

“Don’t Vote For My Dad” might not be the most expected result to such a severely broken home, but is it really that surprising? The lamentable and seemingly inexorable break-down of the traditional family in America claims yet another victim.

By

Joseph Susanka has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since his graduation from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. Currently residing in Lander, Wyoming -- "where Stetsons meet Birkenstocks" -- he is a columnist for Crisis Magazine and the Patheos Catholic portal.

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