Personal responsibility, tolerance and respect for others are attributes that our society expects parents to teach and encourage in their children. As adults, blaming others, intolerance of opinions different from your own and disrespect of others is unacceptable and considered to be selfish. It impugns the character and, in many cases, even the intelligence of the person who engages in these behaviors.
I remember when politics, at least on the local level, respected that every person had a right to their own opinion. No one wanted to make a real enemy in this small community or state. It might have caused some spirited debate but dirty tricks and outright lying was not the norm. We were united by basic beliefs in the goodness of our country.
Today’s politics on all levels are conducted from a different playbook. Nasty, selfish, lying, shortsighted and plain mean behaviors are ordinary in Washington and have trickled down to local politics.
I recently read letters to the editor and articles blaming the Democratic Party for the outcome of a Republican primary and another holding Democrats responsible for a Republican lying about his residency when filing for office. If only those claims were “fake news” instead of the lies they are.
Instead of the classic “the devil made me do it,” it now appears “the Democrats made me do it” is the excuse Republicans prefer.
The Democratic Party does not have magical powers to make Republicans vote in prescribed ways or lie about where they live. Campaigning would be a lot less work and expensive if that were possible. Man (and woman) up. Blame your own party or candidates for being unpopular with the majority or living outside of a district they seek to represent.
There is no “bogey man” or “fake news” to blame for facts or outcomes you don’t like. Stand up like adults and show some mutual respect. Talk about your accomplishments and ideas instead of lies and innuendos about your competition. Follow the ordinances on signs and banners. Don’t threaten or harass other candidates or their families.
We see the division and hatred in our country. Polls show that most people disapprove of lying, blaming others and lack of respect on the national level. Let’s stop it on a local level where we have some control.
Jane Gies is a Leavenworth Times columnist.