FROM READERS: If we're not involved, we have no right to gripe

Monday, October 29, 2012 | 6:29 p.m. CDT; updated 6:40 p.m. CDT, Monday, October 29, 2012
Wayne Behymer is a member of the Missourian's Readers Board. Behymer is twenty years retired from the life insurance business. He lives with his wife , Jo, just east of Columbia.

Some mid-Missourians say they feel like being involved in politics is critically important. To find out what drives them, we're asking people about their political motivation and involvement. We have been periodically posting responses as part of our "Your Voices" election coverage

Can you help round out the picture? Scroll to the bottom to find out how to add your voice.

Here's the latest response in the series. It's from Wayne Behymer, a member of the Missourian's Readers Board. Behymer is twenty years retired from the life insurance business. He lives with his wife, Jo, of 51 years, just east of Columbia. The two are actively involved within the community and the Olivet Christian Church.

He dictated his thoughts on political involvement to Abby Eisenberg from the community outreach team, and she edited and organized his responses into the bolded questions listed below.

How are you politically involved?

As far as being politically involved, it’s mostly making contributions to selected candidates and maybe going to their fundraisers. Visiting with them face-to-face is, I think, much better than watching some political ad. I do watch the ads primarily in the print medium, and I will watch some of the editorials and letters to the editor, but as far as going around distributing yard signs, going door-to-door, no, I don’t do that.

Why not?

Both my wife and I are long-time Boone County-ans. I wasn’t born in Boone County, but I moved here at an early age and my wife’s the same way, so we know tons of people. And sometimes we know both of the candidates in a particular race. If we put up one sign, even if we think one person is better qualified, we don’t want to get hurt feelings I guess, so rather than picking and choosing we just don’t do it, we don’t put up signs.

Why do you choose to spend time following politics?

I figure if I am not involved, then I have no right to gripe about the type of official or issue — I have no right to gripe about what we get. It is somewhat true, one vote makes very little difference, but if everyone felt that way, one vote would make the difference.

Was there a particular time in your life that prompted your involvement?

As far as when (I became politically motivated), I couldn’t tell you that. I know as a teenager, I was really looking forward to the time that I could vote for the first time. Honestly, I don’t remember whether (or not) they had lowered the voting age to 18 at the time — I don’t think so, I think you still had to be 21 to be able to vote. I doubt if I have missed voting in any election since (I became eligible). There may have been one city or county election that I may have missed because there were hardly any issues, and it would’ve only been if I was doing something else and the issue, whichever way it went, really made no difference.

What was exciting to you about voting?

To me, I guess it was one of the signs of coming of age. Even as a teenager I had followed the elections, particularly the presidential (ones). I guess the first one I followed was when I was a teenager, I couldn’t vote, but it was the first Eisenhower election. I think it was one that wasn’t settled until late the next morning, so I stayed up late on Tuesday night listening to the returns coming in on the radio. I guess I felt it was my duty.

We want to hear what you have to say. Please send us your motivations for being politically involved by filling out the form below or emailing us your response to We're looking for a diverse set of answers — long or short, broad or specific — from people of all political persuasions. If there's someone you'd like to hear from, let us know or forward the invitation along.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising Editor is Joy Mayer.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

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frank christian October 30, 2012 | 8:37 a.m.

Joy Meyer- Ron Jensen, news room, has written me (I believe), but since the subject article is from last week, I can't read him. Could you suggest a way? Sorry to "interrupt", here.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams October 30, 2012 | 9:24 a.m.

Frank: Send $5.95, so they can ask you a question.

PS: That's funny....shut off from reader communication by their own pay wall.

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 30, 2012 | 9:48 a.m.

Mike - I broke my own rule (do it all the time), don't post before breakfast!

When I looked at "Could you suggest a way?", first thought was, Joy can't help but answer, "Sure, send us money!".

Just a poor ole' man who can't afford it. Wonder if there is a grant that one could apply for?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams October 30, 2012 | 10:14 a.m.

A grant?

You could some of the change left over from all that hope.

Personally, I'm tapped out.

PS: Speaking of Libya. That former Seal was reported to have "painted" the terrorist mortar position with a laser before he and his buddy took a shell right down the pipe. IF that is true, some questions come to mind.

Why paint a target with a laser? The laser is invisible to the human eye, so the action ISN'T to help the mortar crew read a newspaper. To my knowledge, the only reason to paint a target is so a laser-guided munition can attack that target. So, the only reason to paint that target is if the means to attack the target is IN THE AREA. If the "means" to attack it isn't in the area, there is no reason to turn on the laser. But the laser WAS turned on, so why no attack?

Of course, all of these questions depend upon the factual nature (or not) of the original claim....that a target was painted. I acknowledge that possibility.

But inquiring minds want to know.

(Report Comment)
Joy Mayer October 30, 2012 | 11:17 a.m.

Good morning, guys. I'm happy to paste here what Ron wrote last night. (And for those of you who are members, you can see a video we made about Ron last year here: Ron has worked at the Missourian since 1971.)

— Joy Mayer, Columbia Missourian


Mr. Christian, I work in the Missourian newsroom and am not supposed to participate in these discussions. However, if I'm not offering an opinion but merely correcting what I believe to be a factual error, I think it's OK.

You said:

"To my knowledge our first energy 'crisis' occurred under J.E. Carter. He created gas pump lines and professed the same problems we hear today, tho no one had yet thought of tying them to the 'environment'."

Mr. Christian, I am sure that's not true. I owned a car and bought gasoline in the 1970s and I remember distinctly the escalating gasoline prices and lines at the pumps in 1973 and 1974, during the Nixon and Ford administrations. Carter was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 1977. There might have been some gas lines after that, but I'm sure the first ones were in 1973. Probably the worst ones, too, if only because we Americans were so spoiled by cheap gasoline before then. (When I first came to Columbia in May 1971, there was a gasoline price war raging here, and prices were 18 or 19 cents a gallon at most stations.)

I remember the first time I saw a pump with a price of 50 cents a gallon, I just about hit the ceiling. Well, the roof of my car. I was driving to my hometown in Alabama for a visit with the folks and stopped at Winona, Mississippi, where I-55 and U.S. 82 meet. There were no lines because it was the wee hours and there was hardly anybody around, but I just kept on driving when I saw that price. Stopped in Starkville, Mississippi, and filled up there instead. That was in 1973, the spring or summer. The gasoline shortage or crisis or whatever you want to call it had been going on for a while then.

I say this on the basis of my memories, not any Googling or exhaustive research, but I am sure. If my memory is faulty, please let me know.

Ron Jensen
Clinical Instructor
Missourian Newsroom

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams October 30, 2012 | 12:54 p.m.

Ron: You are correct; there were gas lines in 1973 or thereabouts.

The far bigger lines (and greater panic) happened during the Carter years.

I also remember the Iran hostage crisis, boycott of the 1980 olympics, and high interest rates. I think Mount St. Helens erupted during his tenure, but I don't think even the GOP blamed that on him.

PS; A gas price of 20 cents in 1971 to a gas price of 3.20 now works out....I an annual price inflation of 6.8% (compounded).

Generally, a failed presidency. The parallels to then and now are striking.

(Report Comment)
frank christian October 30, 2012 | 2:39 p.m.

Ronald J. - I see Wikipedia lists an oil crisis of 1973 and an energy crisis of 1979.

I too recall gas prices starting up and Nixon installing price controls. It seemed to me he would remove them, allow, $.05 increase then reapply them. I bought my first boat for the Lake of Ozarks in 1976. I was sure with gas going up price of boats would surely go down. Imagine the surprise when boats went up, right along with gas! To me, the crisis came later, around 1979(when Carter cut off purchase of Iranian oil), when friends from St. L. and more distant places unloaded for the weekend at the lake , immediately drove to service station, Sat. morning, to fill up for their trip home on Sun. None of the Osage Beach stations or ones on highway, bothered to open on Sunday.

Crisis or not, Reagan rescinded the regs that created both problems.

"January 28, 1981
President Reagan signs Executive Order 12287, which provides for the decontrol of crude oil and refined petroleum products."

"At the beginning of his presidency, Reagan ended the price controls on domestic oil which had been started by Richard Nixon; they had contributed to both the 1973 Oil Crisis and the 1979 Energy Crisis.[33][34] The price of oil subsequently dropped, and the 1980s did not see the gasoline lines and fuel shortages that the 1970s had."

Here are Carters ideas for the "American Dream":

Wikipedia about the 1973 "oil price shock"

I cannot disagree with you about when the prices began to spike, but am sure you disagree with me about the parts played by Carter and the Democrat Congresses. Your statement, "if only because we Americans were so spoiled by cheap gasoline before then.", is my clue. Glad to correspond and thanks for reading me.

(Report Comment)

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