|By Bob Weaver, Opinion and Comment|
'The cliché, "All is fair in love, war, and politics" implies that people can suspend the law or the rules of propriety.
Fair play is reasonable unless you want to win at any cost.
In West Virginia and Calhoun County politics, winning at all costs led to a century of vote buying, a practice still in place in some southern counties.
Fortunately, in Calhoun the practice faded in the early 1970s.
Widespread political factions have faded in Calhoun, likely because the brokering of jobs is no longer an option in the county.
Politics in Calhoun over 100 years ago (1896) had a ring similar to today, these comments discovered in a Calhoun Chronicle article transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer:
"We had the pleasure last week of attending the Grantsville fair one day and we found the officers courteous and doing everything in their power to please those in attendance.
Mr. Reese Blizzard, the president, was especially kind in seeing that strangers were provided with good quarters.
We stopped at the Scott Hotel, Squire Ritchea, proprietor, and were well entertained at this well known hostlery, and we advise our citizens that no better accommodations can be found in Grantsville.
The crowd on the last day of the fair was large, the exhibits in the floral hall surpassed those of previous years, and the racing was excellent considering the condition of the track, and taken withal, the Grantsville fair was a success.
While there we had the pleasure of meeting a large number of our old time friends, and were shown many courtesies by them.
Col. Zack Stump was especially kind, and he told us of the political situation in that county, which is very encouraging indeed for the Democracy in old Calhoun.
We also had the pleasure of grasping the hand of Alfred E. Kenney, the Democratic nominee for House of Delegates, and we want to say right here that no better or abler gentleman could be found to represent that county in the next Legislature.
We also visited the Chronicle office, and found Bro. Barr rushed with work, but he took time to crack a quart bottle of newspaper oil with us, and talk over the difficulties that beset the editor of a one horse country weekly.
Many candidates were in attendance upon said fair and each was presenting his respective claims to the voters why they should support them.
Even Capt. Wiant was there telling the people the same old gag that the railroad would not be built up the Kanawha unless McKinley was elected, and his talk was so disgusting that Sant Brannon, as rabid a Republican as he is, told him he ought to be ashamed of himself.
Mr. Pearson, of Wirt, candidate for State Senator, was in attendance, and said he would get a good many votes from the Democrats of Gilmer on account of being a Baptist.
But we warned him in time that religion and politics don't go hand in hand in Gilmer, and no difference what his religion may be, the people of Gilmer vote for the man.
Our own C.D. Dotson was also there, and won many warm friends by his pre-possessing appearance and his not boasting of any great accomplishments, but only claiming in a modest way that he is one of the people, and will represent them to the best of his ability, if elected in the upper branch of the next Legislature.
We enjoyed our trip to Calhoun, and the many kindnesses shown us while there..."
This lengthy endorsement was published by an anonymous Glenville resident.