Decision Apopka 2018
By Reggie Connell/Managing Editor of The Apopka Voice
Dear Apopka candidates,
Congratulations, you made it to Election Day!
You have collectively been called puppets, relatives of former mayors, criminals, spendthrifts, liars, and a few expletives The Apopka Voice will not publish. You have been accused of hating the military, being a former member of Acorn, running only to cost another candidate votes, having no vision, and having vision but no way to pay for it.
Despite the name-calling and accusations, you have survived, and stand on the precipice of judgment day.
It may have seemed like a tough road to journey, but you are not the first to be savaged by opponents and supporters of opponents. We need only look at the presidential election of 1800 to see even worse negative campaigning and accusations, and with even higher stakes.
With threats of violence, fear of secession and national dissolution, the US Congress met in February of 1801 to resolve the election of 1800. With Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson tied in Electoral College votes, the decision rested with the House of Representatives.
The political parties of the day – the Federalists and the Republicans, had brought the nation to the verge of chaos, utter destruction, and possible extinction with the campaigns they had waged against their opponents, but now they would be called upon to mediate a political solution.
Federalists and Republicans argued over how to implement a relatively new document called the Federal Constitution and resolve the issue. Both parties did, however, agree to the fact that the solution was within the framework of the Constitution.
Ultimately through politics and negotiation, Jefferson was chosen as the 3rd President of the United States, succeeding John Adams.
In his inaugural address, Jefferson sought to alleviate national fears by making his now famous unifying declaration:
“We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists. But every difference of opinion is not a difference in principle. We are called by different names but are brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans. We are all Federalists.”
It was called the revolution of 1800, and it was the first time in history that a peaceful transition of power took place among rival groups.
It has been 218 years since Jefferson, Adams, and Burr fought it out for office, but every two years America has its own peaceful revolutions in order to form a more perfect union.
They’re called elections.
Sometimes it’s for President, sometimes for the Senate or House of Representatives, and sometimes its in local elections for mayor and city commission seats in a town called Apopka.
Apopka fights hard for its candidates. We know them. We like them. We trust them. But at the end of the election, the votes are counted and they win or lose, and then it is time for communities, states, and nations to come together in principle and support our leaders.
Opponents of Jefferson called him an atheist who advocated for the legalization of murder, robbery, and prostitution.
So paralyzed by the criticism, Jefferson cut the national debt 33%, closed a deal with the French for the Louisiana Territory and sent two men, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, on an expedition that opened the west to exploration and settlement.
Oh, and he was re-elected overwhelmingly in 1804. A few years later, they carved his likeness into a granite formation in the Black Hills of South Dakota called Mount Rushmore.
In approximately 24 hours, all 10 of you will know your political fate for 2018. One of you will be mayor. At least five of you will be unhappy with the results; possibly seven. It will be a difficult evening for most of you, and a joyous night for some.
But win, lose, or runoff I am calling on you to be the leaders of Apopka that all of you are running to be. I ask that you rise up from the ashes of a hard-fought political battleground and lead Apopka out of what may well have been the most contentious election cycle in its history and into the process of healing and unifying this growing city into one the new City Council can govern with the vision and mandate the voters have called for.
All of you have either spoken of being a “voice for the people”, or of wanting to create “One Apopka”. This is your opportunity. I have gotten to know most of you these past few months, and have confidence in all 10 of you to begin that process soon after the results are known. It is, after all, in the best interest of the city that you love.
Set politics aside and be Apopkans.
Good luck to you all, and stay safe on the campaign trail.
Stay with The Apopka Voice for wall-to-wall coverage of Decision Apopka 2018 on Election Day.