I’m responding to Rebecca Johnston’s and Marguerite Cline’s recent commentaries regarding negative politics in Cherokee County. I agree, it would be wonderful if political campaigns could be run only on the relevant campaign issues without resorting to personal attacks. However, I find it hypocritical that these Harry Johnston defenders can, with a straight face, demonize supporters of Steve West and in some cases mere critics of Harry Johnston’s performance.
Some of the nastiest comments came from Mr. and Mrs. Johnston themselves. I personally was the target of attacks by the Johnstons even though I wasn’t running or personally participating in any political race. Mrs. Johnston in her recent commentary used negative publicity to target Trim, Marlow, Knowles, even Judge McElyea for her too lenient sentence, and anyone who ever associated with, married, hired, prosecuted or even rented to Mr. Trim as individuals who should never hold political office. Mrs. Harry Johnston even encouraged citizens to keep lists of who supported which candidates to be used against them at a later date. This is the definition of negative campaigning.
Mrs. Cline was offended by signs with the caption “Dirty Harry” and personally believed they indicated he was being accused of taking bribes. I thought they were referring to the Bobo fiasco. I was told they were a reminder that Mr. Johnston had failed the citizens on a number of issues and also in response to his negative campaigning. The Tribune published many Johnston ads where he made negative comments about private citizens. His campaign emails negatively and falsely commented about me and other citizens.
Mrs. Cline compliments the Johnstons’ participation in her church. However, attendance does not give you license to behave in an unchristian manner after leaving the sanctuary. You are also correct that there was plenty of political ammunition that could and was used against Mr. Johnston.
The bully was beaten and now we complain that it was accomplished by dirty politics. Where were the complaints when Harry was running his negative campaign or about the negative campaigning by the commission chair who won the race?