Faith involves mystery in politics and life

Published 7:34 am Saturday, March 10, 2018

By Bobby Tingle


Incumbents beware; Orange County voters have lost the faith.

Incumbent is usually a badge of honor and respect likely to sway voters in the voting booth. Orange County rejected incumbents wholesale Tuesday.

One incumbent is currently perched on a bubble likely to burst soon.

Theresa Adams Beauchamp has a slim, razor thin margin of four votes. She leads incumbent Barry Burton in the race to represent the Republican Party on the ballot in November.

Beauchamp, when she prevails, will face Democrat nominee Deborah Mitchell in November. The winner will represent Precinct Two at Commissioners’ Court.

Robert Viator successfully ousted incumbent Jody Crump for the Precinct Four spot. He will be unchallenged in November.

Republicans chose Dean Crooks for County Judge unseating Stephen ‘Brint’ Carlton. Crooks will face Donald Brown in November.

Collectively these candidates have zero experience serving on Orange County Commissioners Court.

Two years ago, voters in Precincts One and Three selected Johnny Trahan and John Gothia respectively as their representatives. Trahan and Gothia are in the second year of their initial four-year term.

Assuming Burton’s recount challenge fails, come January Orange County Commissioners’ Court will be populated by three novices and two incumbents with two years experience each.

Are voters ready for that level of inexperience?

Apparently voters have more faith in the challengers than they do experienced incumbents.

What went wrong for the incumbent?

Mystery involves things difficult to understand or impossible to perceive. Mystery is often associated with religion.

We employ faith when dealing with mystery. If we cannot fully explain or understand something we hold to be true, faith bridges the gap.

It is neither foolish nor insane to act on faith.

Voters chose based on a lack of faith in the incumbent Tuesday, placing their faith on the challengers. Voters rejected incumbents because their level of dissatisfaction with them was greater than their regard for their experience on the court.

Voters are dissatisfied with their efforts.

Only time will tell if voters chose well.

Local government is important. The impact elected officials have on our lives should be greatest at the local government level. We are diminished in our ability to change the direction imposed on us by elected officials when state and federal officials impose the greatest impact.

It is gratifying to see voters engaged. From the results of the recent election it appears voters were deliberate in their choice rather than simply going with the name on the ballot most familiar to them.

Voters made choices based on convictions.

The challenge for the winners is to identify their convictions and act accordingly. Perceiving those convictions completely is impossible. Elected officials will have to rely on faith to bridge the gap of mystery as they act.

For this election the incumbent label was not beneficial.

Let’s have faith their replacements will move Orange County forward.


Bobby Tingle is publisher of The Orange Leader. You can reach him at