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The Daily



09-24-03: Author brings personal view on politics to St. Marys


ST. MARYS — Even though some may say the political party system in America is losing its punch with the onslaught of independent voters, William Angel, author and associate professor at The Ohio State University at Lima, believes partisan politics is beneficial right down to the roots — grass roots, that is.
Angel’s book “Not All Politics Is Local,” published by The Kent State University Press, recounts his own experiences as chairman of the Allen County Democratic Party from 1986 to 1991.
During an author visit Tuesday evening at the St. Marys Community Public Library, sponsored by the Friends of the Library, Angel said partisan politics tends to keep people more focused on issues as well as candidates.
“Actually this is my second book. I wrote the first in 1956 in the fourth grade and it was also on politics,” Angel said as he projected transparencies from that first book of “elifints” and donkeys urging people to pay attention to “votting.”
Boxing was a theme in the first book with the two party symbols duking it out at the polls, which Angel said still speaks to the rough and tumble of politics.
“Local elections are often incredibly nasty because it’s politics among neighbors. It’s asking people to choose and it can divide a community,” said the St. Marys author whose research focus is on political parties, political leadership and grassroots political activism.
“Not All Politics Is Local” details Angel’s own campaign for democratic party chair in Allen County in 1986 where a labor union member had been chairman for 14 years.
“There was a union, blue collar focus and the white collars were put on the fringe. We were a voice not recognized on the local party level,” Angel said.
This cultural split reflects the split in the Democratic Party in general, Angel said in an aside.
Angel did finally win the chair in 1986, but the labor group all but withdrew its support of the party choosing to sit back and watch and hope for failure.
He said he debated when he first began writing whether or not to use real names but decided, after careful verification of dates, times and participants, that truth is truth, and called everyone by name.
As a local party chair, Angel met many big guns in national politics: Jesse Jackson, Al Gore, Howard Metzenbaum, Michael Dukakis — and relates anecdotes and observations that may cause readers to take a second look at how national politicos behave at the local level.


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