Admit it, the headline made you chuckle.

"Man unseats wife in Bledsoe County school board election." The honey-do punchlines write themselves.

Jokes aside, Times Free Press reporter Ben Benton introduced us to Ben Farmer, who beat his ex-wife Stacy Holman Farmer to win the only contested school board election in nearby Bledsoe County.

Yes, the pair filed for divorce roughly a year ago so those jokes lose their luster rather quickly. No matter how frequently divorce is portrayed in entertainment media, count me among the folks who think that the fact that more than half our marriages now end in divorce is a huge part of our social issues today — notwithstanding the circumstances in which divorce is essential.

But that's a discussion for another time.

For Ben and Stacy, though, the novelty of a husband vs. wife campaign — as Benton noted — was uncommon but not completely unique.

The decorum shown by both makes me feel like I was watching from another planet. After all, here in Hamilton County, we had just witnessed Olympic-level vitriol in the Perez-Decosimo Board of Education race just a few weeks ago.

Hear the quotes:

Said Ben Farmer: "I ran for the school board for my community in the Fourth District to bring the vision and values back to the board that I think that have been lost."

Said Stacy Farmer, in an email to Benton: "Mr. Farmer was successful, and I hope the board continues to advocate for the betterment of our students. I appreciate the confidence placed in me by the citizens during my eight-year tenure. It was a privilege to represent the citizens of my district and to serve with a number of caring board members and exceptional administrators, teachers and staff."

Not to get too deep in the weeds of a marital split, but how can folks who waded through divorce waters in the last year or so be more civil than the vast majority of those seeking office or supporting (and opposing) those seeking office?

I ask this because, in the coming days, our political dysfunction will be on center stage.

The national party nominating conventions start this week, and while they will be virtual for all because of the coronavirus, they will be virtually unwatchable because of the conversations.

There will be bickering. And accusations — real and not-so real. Insults and insinuations. Falsehoods told and false promises made.

Sounds kind of like, I don't know, a divorce. Except now, after the Farmers' race in Bledsoe County, we know divorces and campaigns can be more civil than presidential politics.

Contact Jay Greeson at

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Jay Greeson