Bring back civility to local politics

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With the national news showing the country in a constant state of political turmoil, I am calling on all participants in the local elections to take a different path – it is called civility.

In covering local politics for more than 30 years, I have seen the descent of local political races devolve more and more into a mirror of statewide and national races. I’m talking about the adage “All’s fair in love, war and politics.”

As with most trite sayings, it is not true but rather an excuse to ignore the norms of civility in public life. Also, I have found that those who indulge most in mudslinging do so because they do not have the faith in the value of their own ideas.

Elected office, especially at the local level, is still a public service. Most people enter into it with that thought in mind.

It is not uncommon to come into politics with a sense of purpose and mission. The trouble starts when the purpose takes on the trappings of a cause. Then, in their minds, it becomes a contest of good over evil.

And oh what evil things people do in the name of “the greater purpose.”

The truth is, those who stoop to low methods do so because they don’t have the ability to convince others of the rightness of their purpose. So they attack the character and the motives of their opponents. Of course that invites the opponents to do likewise.

What it does is cheapen the whole system. Now there is no way to cleanse the entire political system. It has been ugly and biased since the days of the founding fathers.

But remember we are all neighbors here. Our children go to the same schools, we shop at the same stores. No one has horns or cloven hooves. Why cannot we campaign on the merit of our ideas and the content of our own character?

The dirty tricks, the anonymous or bogus emails and all of the dirty tricks we hate about politics should be set aside in our local elections.

All of North Fulton has been subjected to 20 years of tremendous growth. That growth is what brought many of us here. The reality is this growth is going to continue into Forsyth County, east Cherokee County and Gwinnett County.

The communities we moved into will continue to change. And the one thing I have learned covering all of this change is we can’t stay in the past. But we are all in this together as communities. We are not monsters or thugs.

So we should remember we are neighbors looking for answers to deal with all of this change. And we should remember that 95 percent of the country would kill to have the problems we face. We are so prosperous, we have a glut of prosperity. We offer a lot for people who are looking for a great place to raise a family and find economic opportunity.

So a little civility if you please.


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