Over the past couple of months, an array of campaign material has ended up in my mailbox and a few folks have knocked on my door stumping for candidates, all in anticipation of the primary election Thursday, Aug. 4. 

Television ads have also been abundant.

As I write this, I have not voted, and I am trying to decide if I will make the effort. It is hard to work up much enthusiasm for this one.

I know, I know. If I’m going to pontificate on the political system in this space, the least I can do is exercise the privilege of voting.

According to a Home Page story published Thursday, July 28, up to that date early voting turnout had been light in Williamson County, with 6.4 percent of 185,584 registered voters having cast a ballot.

That makes me want to do my part. I must now decide if I want to vote early (a day and a half remains for that as I submit this column and I suspect the lines are now longer) or vote on election day. (So yes, I have talked myself into voting.)

Although I am an independent, I will vote in the Republican primary because there are only a couple of races on the Democratic side that have competing candidates and I know little about them. I can educate myself by the time the general election rolls around.

I could very well vote for a Democratic candidate in November but voting in the GOP primary seems logical for me in this primary election. In addition to there being more races with two or more candidates, I also want to vote on the Republican side because of the endorsements that have been made.

By that I mean I disagree ideologically with some of the groups and individuals that have made endorsements. By eliminating their endorsees, I have a better idea of how to cast my vote. I guess it would be appropriate for me to thank those who took time to make the endorsements.

As usual, some of the campaign materials and commercials are, well, interesting. The ad agencies advising GOP candidates obviously believe guns matter bigtime to the party’s voters.

The candidates for Tennessee’s Fifth Congressional District (the district formerly represented by Democrat Jim Cooper, who is not seeking re-election) are making sure you are aware of their affection for the Second Amendment. You will hear them talk about it and you are likely to see a gun here and there in their commercials.

That congressional race is a crowded field, by the way. With the district having been redrawn and now including parts of Williamson County, nine would-be congresspeople are vying for the Republican nomination. I suppose a runoff is possible.

The watchword is “conservative” for almost all the Republican candidates whose campaign literature has come my way. It appears to be a prefix to the names of many of them.

That seems to equate not only to concern about the right to bear arms, but also the close monitoring of local school districts. A state representative candidate’s flyer boldly proclaims, “Protect Students. Empower Parents.”  

I have noticed an absence of former President Trump’s name in campaign advertising. Perhaps, as his culpability in the Jan. 6 events has become more evident, candidates are not as eager to boast of their allegiance.

Governor Bill Lee might be surprised to learn one of the candidates for State Senate believes Tennessee “is being run by an establishment class that works for special interests and not to secure the liberties of the people of Tennessee.”

Lee holds the state’s highest office and presides over a highly partisan Republican legislature that enacted laws that essentially outlaw abortion in the state; impose strict requirements on school administrations and librarians regarding books; keep transgender students from playing sports according to their transitioned identities; and put teachers on alert when teaching about the history of slavery and racial tensions for fear they might say something that could interpreted as Critical Race Theory.

It seems to me, if an establishment class has been running the state, the ideals of that class would align with this ultra-conservative candidate, who also warns that “unconstitutional emergency powers that called you nonessential and closed your business have never been addressed.”

Best I can tell, he is still mad about how COVID was handled. Perhaps in his view the conservative governor and legislature did not go far enough in protecting us from wearing masks.

I don’t mean to pick on the Republicans. Once we start gearing up for the general election, I am confident the Dems will be just as absurd with what they tell us, and I will be glad to take them to task.

Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at [email protected].