Voice Of The Voter: Townsend, MA
The Hiller Instinct: Voice Of The Voter: Townsend, MA
We came to Townsend, Massachusetts hoping to see a sign of the future. You can see the past at Townsend harbor...where a mill was built in 1733...and a dam constructed to grow the town. You can see the present in the yellow ribbons on the town common...and on a billboard celebrating the soldiers Townsend has sent to Iraq.
In 2000, Townsend voted the way America did...giving Al Gore slightly more votes than George Bush. Now, how will the town that has an almost equal number of Republicans and Democrats vote tomorrow?
The Townsend Rod and Gun Club should be Bush country...even though John Kerry wants voters to know he's a hunter. But the President appears to be more on target:
"I believe Bush in his four years has done a good job. I believe something had to be done after 9/11."
Still, there's little enthusiasm for Bush, or Kerry, or the campaign:
"'I don't think either one of these two guys is a perfect candidate."
"I can't wait until the whole election is over with."
Regret is repeated by parents in a playground, just after school closes. Bush and Kerry have turned them off:
"They're separate, but I'm not happy with either one of them."
"Neither one of them impress me."
"It's just who can put the worst smear on the other candidate and I'm just ready for it to be through."
Inside an elementary school, seniors at a luncheon agree. Millions of dollars spent on campaign ads, appearances and speeches have been wasted...because the candidates haven't connected:
"I'm voting for Kerry... hopefully he'll do a good job.
But he hasn't convinced you in the campaign?
"No, not thoroughly he hasn'tů"
"I'm a Republican, so I imagine I'll probably vote Republican."
Are you excited about President Bush or are you just going to vote for him because you're a Republican?
"Well, I haven't had any feelings yet."
So many people in Townsend will vote because they should, not because they're inspired, or even committed. What's shaping up there is a joyless, conflicted election...which is where the nation may be headed, too.