Editorial Cartoon

There’s little doubt that this year’s elections, particularly the general election, in which voters will choose who will be president for the next four years, will be busy, pervasive and likely heated.

At the national level, the division in our nation will be on display, as will the growing lack of respect party politics are breeding in our elections. The vitriol at the national level is already on display and will only reach a fever pitch as we approach November.

We’re asking that we not allow that to trickle down to our community.

Numerous people have filed for the various elected offices which will appear on the primary and general election ballots. Some of them are newcomers. Some are veterans.

But all share some commonalities. They believe they are the best person for the position for which they are running. They believe their ideas are the best for our community. They are all willing to be invested and “put their money where their mouth is.”

But at the end of the first Tuesday in November, only one will be elected in each of the open offices.

They all also share another commonality: They’re all human, people with families, with friends, with jobs and with communities in which they hold influence.

These aspects should be remembered as the election season heats up. It’s easy in the realm of politics to make your opponent a caricature — to see them as nothing more than their beliefs or public persona.

That also breeds the willingness to attack a person in a way that would be unwelcome outside the arena.

So we’re asking all candidates for public office to consider the weight their words carry and the messages their actions send.

Don’t wait for your opponent to do the right thing, force them to do the right thing by running a campaign that is above-board — honest and transparent.

Avoid attacking your opponent based on their personal life, or especially their personal failings. Instead, focus on and communicate to potential voters why your stances and abilities make you the better choice. Again, establish why you’re the better choice for the particular office, not why you’re a better person.

Far too often, we allow personalities and the conflicts which go along with exaggerated public personas to become the deciding factor in who gets the votes.

Instead, send a message early that no matter how low your opponent goes, you won’t do the same. Show a modicum of statesmanship and be the person who refuses to hit below the belt or target your candidate for anything other than the issues for which they stand.

The public discourse has, over the past decade, become more and more fraught with pitfalls of negative campaigning. The change starts with each individual refusing to resort to mudslinging and its end goal is a vibrant democracy focused on bringing our community up, instead of tearing each other down.

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