I feel uneasy these days. I sense a rising tide of silent criticism of Republican Rep. Marlin Stutzman.
It centers on the fact he is not a four-year graduate with a degree from a prestigious university and has only a diploma from a religious high school.
I realize some voters expect their government representatives to be well-educated, but many welcome somebody who has exactly the same education they do so their representatives share the same cultural roots, the same aspirations, the same cognitive abilities, the same degree of knowledge, and the same values.
Since only 17 percent of residents older then 25 in the Fort Wayne region have a four-year college degree, it makes sense for the 83 percent to vote for someone like themselve. The practical side of this is the 17 percenters often move out of state to seek opportunities their college educations afford them. Why even Steve Shine, head of the Allen County Republican Party, has lived in Colorado.
As a result, 17 percenters may lose contact with the community in which they grew up. Eight-three-percenters, however, tend to live their entire lives in the same place, often in the same neighborhood, the same house, and know their communities well. For them, there is nothing like the bond of high-school memories with fellow classmates.
Where government representation is concerned, this is a good thing. Their political candidates who also live their entire lives in their communities are thoroughly steeped in the life and lives of where they live. They know their constituents and what they want. My suggestion to Stutzman is: Dont waste time going to college. You dont need a degree. Stick with your high-school education because that is what your supporters want. And to those restive silent critics, who may well be Democrats anyway, accept the fact that the 83 percent knows best.
GEOFFREY WHEELER Fort Wayne