Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Voting Aftermath 4-8-09 Editor's Column

We now find ourselves one day removed from yet another election. Some of you may be pleased with the results, others may be disappointed and now all of us can sit back and wait for the “next step,” that we often hear about in the months that lead up to the moment that the ballots are cast.

I, for one, am relieved.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy the process of electing new officials - it’s quite the opposite. I really enjoy being part of the civic process and seeing what changes come with it, if any.

I do, however, believe that there are some parts of the process that could be changed for future races.

At some point during the campaigning process there seems to be a perspective shift from what is in the best interest of the town to what is in the best interest of getting the candidates running elected.

At first, candidates seem adamant about the changes that they hope to implement if they earn their respective positions or the improvements that they hope to make on the current system to ensure that it continues to run strong.

But gradually, candidates seem to be campaigning less about the issues that they originally set out to address and more against the people who are sitting across the proverbial table from them.

From there, it becomes the epitome of the word “contest.” Each side explains why they are superior in hopes that we, the public that will have the final say, will side with what they hope we see as the better version of the truth.

My problem with this is that it often turns people that would otherwise be good, supportive neighbors and friends, against each other.

I don’t have any issues with pointing out that one side of the table does not offer something that the other side will and vice versa, but I do have issues with people dragging each other’s credibility through the mud for the sake of convincing someone to vote one way over the other instead of earning that vote.

I have seen far too much unnecessary mudslinging during this election cycle to the point that I think it has averted some eyes from other issues entirely. There were some genuinely great races that were run that we lost sight of because they weren’t full of controversy.

I have two hopes now that we have concluded our local elections: The first is that we can learn from this experience and grow between now and the next election cycle. The second, is that we can now rally around the incoming officials and put aside our allegiances for the good of our community.

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