As promised, I'm not writing about politics on my FB page. In fact, I don't have a FB page anymore. I'm sick of it. The delay in my posting this will anger some but I'm not going back to arguing with the whole world on Facebook. This produces a much more considered response I think.
In any event, as politics heat up around election time, there are always hot button issues that pop up. Crisis and conflict between candidates and parties. This was the case during the last Council election and my feelings surrounding the infamous "mailer" are well-known. I quit the party over it.
This time around, there isn't a mailer (and that must remain the case) but there are individuals making comments on social media that are inflammatory and that I disagree with. I cannot control what these people say. I've always thought (take a tour of most of my earlier articles) that local politics should be somewhat more genteel and humane. I don't know, maybe that particular brand of politics is already in the ash heap and I just don't see it. I know that as chair of the local GOP that I've received death threats via the mail. Yes. Here in Manassas. Think about that a bit. People don't want to just call me names, they want me dead….
When I was in office I had dozens of occasions to have pretty pointed discussions with constituents. Things got heated. Occasionally overheated but not often what I would call ugly. Yes, comments on various and sundry blogs were often downright vile but the face to face stuff stayed mostly respectful. The letters we received from constituents were also generally respectful. Citizens time was often more…passionate.
I think that the dialog as we run up to the election in November should remain respectful. Let us disagree and argue over policy and leave the people out. I know, that isn't the way of current electoral politics but it would be for the best – in all races really but especially for Council and School Board. These candidates are our neighbors, not some distant Senator that you have .01% chance of ever meeting in your life. You will probably run into them in the grocery or in Old Town. Mostly they're just people. Yes, their politics may be wildly different and/or you may just not like them but they're either in office or running for office and they deserve your respect.
That goes for both sides.
In addition, family members should be off limits. Just as those in elected office serve the citizens, so do their family members. The family members take the hurt and abuse inflicted upon those in office and feel it tenfold. Many was the night that I had to restrain Sarah from calling someone to deliver a piece of her mind. I think that those who attack family members exclude themselves from the policy debate. It's hurtful and I resent it. It turns people off and, especially at the local level, it does not help whatever candidate you are trying to support.
So, let us stick to things that are germane: voting records, ideas, policy positions and if things get tough, the person that is running for office – for that person is standing for election. However it should be respectful because I know that, no matter the outcome, we all have to live here – and with each other the day after the election.