Pancakes and Politics


It wasn’t too long ago that I moved back to my hometown. We’re a small town, not far from Cleveland, OH. Just a couple weeks ago was our local Pancake Breakfast event. It’s interesting, when you look around you at that event with an understanding that comes from experience beyond the borders of that small town.

My initial feelings were mixed. Throughout my entire lifetime, there was a man who was a landmark at this event, who had been Mayor of the town for years, and a friend of the family for much longer. I had attended his funeral not long before the breakfast, so his absence was strikingly felt. Even after having been gone for years, it was still very noticeable.

As I walked through the crowd, another thing struck me as out of place…but in a good way. One of the volunteers serving the food wore a hijab. She appeared to be thoroughly enjoying herself, and talking with the other volunteers like friends. In a very conservative, small town, this was a welcome vision. It showed me that not all conservative communities were hateful.

The next thing that I noticed, while we ate, were the volunteers that wore campaign shirts for a judge. They were visibly working the crowd to gain support and donations. That in itself wasn’t nearly as odd as their campaign slogan, which they repeated as if it were a mantra.

“Judge Bartlotta, tough on crime.”

That got me thinking. Do you really want a judge who is tough on crime? I can see a police chief or a district attorney running as being tough on crime. That’s their job. A judge, however, should NOT be tough on crime. Their job is to administer justice. The slogan they should run under is “fair on crime,” or even “balanced on crime.” A crusading judge does the justice system a….injustice, so to speak. They shouldn’t be working with the intent on punishing criminals. They should work with the intent on fairly administering justice.

All in all, it was an enlightening experience at best.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

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