The election is over, so what’s next?
Let’s acknowledge up front that most of you did not vote, and we’re not sure why, since civic involvement seems a key component in just about all our communities.
Two years ago, we heard the frustrations of several Glens Fall supervisor candidates who said they had to repeatedly explain to voters the role supervisors play in representing each ward in Warren County, but not in city government. Many did not know that.
We’d love to see some civic-minded group like the League of Women Voters step forward with seminars around the region that explain how government works on the state, county and local levels.
Perhaps they could also explain how political parties work, how to get involved, get on the committee that makes candidate endorsements and what each individual can do to make a difference with the party of their choice.
We promise to publicize the meetings and promote their work, while continuing to do our part by publishing candidate capsules, covering local government and providing endorsements from our editorial board.
We also believe this community needs to have a conversation about ethics, what’s appropriate in politics and what will not be tolerated. Political leaders need to be questioned by members of their own parties and get assurances dirty politics will not be tolerated.
We’d love to hear from their leaders. We would provide space in our pages for their opinions and observations on ethics.
It has gotten to the point that each election season, we’re seeing at least one political race become so heated, it leaves most voters disgusted and less likely to participate. The truth is bent and the facts are misconstrued, and it keeps getting worse.
We sometimes think the bad guys are winning, and this election season, there were times when this editorial board was portrayed as the bad guys.
Three citizen representatives gave their time and energy to be part of the process this year. These were regular folks who regularly asked questions about their own community concerns.
One of them was surprised how little the board knew about the political affiliations of most of the candidates and how little it mattered.
For the most part, we did not hear too much about dirty politics from the candidates we interviewed, but we don’t see or hear about everything. We suspect it is worse than we believe.
Often, it is just a few people who aggressively take over party politics. If you are a member of a party, you have the power to stop that as well. Make your voice heard.
If you don’t like what you are seeing, attend party functions and start talking up right and wrong.
Stand up for what you believe.
We also need a constant drumbeat urging regular people to get involved in their local government. Imagine if a few hundred people started turning out to community board meetings. Giving up an hour or two a month to be informed seems like a minor inconvenience.
If you don’t do it, who will?
There is little impact one person can make on the federal or state government level, but a handful of people can keep a town honest.
They can make a difference.
The votes have been cast for this year.
We will have new leaders in many communities. Other leaders will be returning.
The commitment now is to hold them all accountable.
To get more people involved.
If that happens, we all benefit.