What's Your Beef? Politics and Neighbors
There was a drone hovering over our goat pen a couple weeks ago, and then later a federal agent opened our gates and went through our property without permission. We trust our neighbors, so these things wouldn’t usually worry me. The drone? Oh, we’d think, just some child at play. The federal agent? Probably some neighbor taking a short cut.
John Lamb, my father, is standing for state senate district 36 on two legs he was told he might not ever walk on again after a near fatal car accident. This is just a glimpse of who he is: a man giving beyond himself to serve his community. Whether advocating for the voiceless through media coverage or offering a job and roof to the homeless, he’s never been known to not be actively helping in some way. And so, it only seemed natural to try and further serve his community by running for office. He chose the Libertarian party as he wishes to safeguard the American Dream and protect personal liberties.
It’s not that things have changed since my dad decided to run for state senate. We still love our neighbors and encourage friendly debate. But after local resident John White hired two of my siblings, subtly interrogated them, and then reported us for campaign fraud, I’ve been a little wary of all the happenings around our place. And I’ve especially been questioning just who designed campaign laws, and who they are really protecting.
Did we accept dark money or recruit foreign meddling? No, we were simply new to the art of regulations and were financing our small campaign with our own cash and time.
To fix the violation, my father drove from sign to sign to put on stickers saying, “Paid For By John Lamb (L)”. I spent eight hours one day stamping the same words onto 5,000 cards. My younger siblings have been helping to finish the remaining 5,000.
My dad has spent the little he has so he might serve his community. Wishing to comply with our state laws has cost him even more. But now it’s clear he paid for our signs and cards. We hadn’t wanted to focus on our party affiliation, but to show who my dad is and what he offers. But omitting Libertarian from our signs and cards was illegal.
We were told “ignorance is no excuse” for not doing these things initially. And because of this, we are facing prosecution and fines, as well as an unfair tearing down of my father’s character.
These laws are supposed to make it so we are elected and governed by our neighbors. I get that, and I want that, too. But this feels more like a cutthroat move made legal by politicians looking out for their careers of power. Real neighbors would come and talk with you first, right, before reporting? And wouldn’t use children to get to the father. Then why do we have laws that encourage neighbors to turn on neighbors? All the while, we continue to have offices filled with the very same people the laws were supposedly designed to protect us from.
Maybe we’re the exception, though. Maybe this isn’t how most men have it when they seek to serve guided by down-to-earth values. Maybe the laws usually do guarantee that the man who is called to serve succeeds.
Have our campaign regulations made it so good citizens care even less for politics, leaving it completely up to those who would take advantage of people like my family to further their own agenda? Are our regulations backfiring on the very people we wish to protect?
Keturah Lamb, daughter of John Lamb for SD36