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Nov
1

Editorial 612


Missy Layfield - Editor

Is It Over Yet?

By now, we have all voted or at least know how we are going to vote. The last day to vote early is Saturday, November 3. If you have a mail in ballot, you might want to hand deliver it to the Elections office if you want to be sure it is counted. Only those ballots received in their office by 7pm on Election Day will be counted. Postmark doesn’t matter; it has to be in their hands by 7pm.

Many of us are beyond weary of the whole thing, especially the tone and the manner that election campaigns have taken on of late.

We’ve been inundated with campaign postcards, robocalls, sound bites, debates and hourly reports. Here at the paper, we are on every national and state candidate’s mailing list. One day last week, we received a dozen emails from one campaign alone. I marvel at their assumption that email carpet-bombing is effective. I guess their emphasis on quantity over quality is a calculated move. The only benefit I can see is that I’m better at hitting my delete key when I see it’s from that campaign. Probably not their goal.

We don’t cover state and national campaigns here at the Sand Paper. There are many other ways for our readers to get information on those races. We are not immune to their effects however.

The Sand Paper’s campaign policy provided several opportunities for local candidates to speak to our readers. It also specified that we would not be printing any letters that brought up new issues or attacked a candidate this week, the last week before the election. That is a common policy among weekly newspapers nationwide as it prevents attacks that don’t give a candidate a chance to respond. We don’t control what any candidate puts in their paid ad, but we do control what we will print in the letters section. In a sad sign of the times, there were several letter-writers who sent letters attacking candidates and when asked to resend a letter that was supportive of their candidate instead, they wouldn’t or couldn’t do it.

Is that what we’ve come to – we don’t support a candidate so much as we are against their opponent?

As the campaigns wind down toward Election Day, it’s a relief to know it will be over soon. Come Wednesday morning, we’ll know who our new elected leaders are.

At this point, as a voter, all I really want is a pledge from all candidates that they will remember that they represent ALL the people, not just those who voted for them or those who contributed to their campaign. If someone wins an election, especially by a slim margin, they should remember that there is a good chunk of the electorate that did not think they were the best choice. Instead of playing only to their supporters, it would be refreshing to hear them express a desire to serve ALL of the people and mean it.

In addition, I think on the state and national stage, voters are tired of the partisanship and bickering. We’ve had years of gridlock because the two major parties don’t play well with each other. They don’t even talk to each other except through sound bites at press conferences and that’s only to accuse one another of lying or kicking grandma or some other dastardly deed.

As politicians are acutely tuned to what voters want, I have to assume that they think this kind of partisanship is what the people want. Not the people I know.

The people I know are sick of the bickering and Washington gridlock. Sick of the excuses that "the other party won’t work with us.” Sick of "it’s their fault.”

I suspect that elected officials have a tendency to insulate themselves due to the demands of the job and the nature of Washington. Once they are surrounded by people who think just like them and all subscribe to the same mindset, it’s no wonder they lose track of what the voters want. A fresh approach to working with constituents would be a good first step.

People expect that their elected officials will find a way to work with other elected officials to get the work of the people done. That requires talking to those in the other party.

Legislators who don’t think just like you are not the enemy-they’re your co-workers because we the voters put you into that job to GET THE JOB DONE.

Compromise is not a dirty word, it is not capitulation, and it is not surrender. It is how American government works or should work or used to work.

How many years have we faced a federal government shutdown because Congress can’t seem to pass a budget?

While we have limited control over how people behave in Washington, we do have complete control over how we react to the election.

How about we the voters show those leaders how it’s done? How about we show respect for whoever is elected and not spend the next 4 years working to defeat the duly elected person that voters chose? Why not be respectful of those who voted differently than you?

We’re coming off a 2 year low of political bantering and sniping. Wouldn’t it be refreshing if we all respected our differences and recognized that it’s those differences and how we still can work together that makes our country great? That quality is much more important than who sits in the White House or who controls the Senate.

Can we recapture that mutual respect and tolerance?

Missy Layfield