PI Editorial: Respect and kindness go a long way, even in politics | PostIndependent.com

PI Editorial: Respect and kindness go a long way, even in politics

Post Independent Editorial Board

Whether it’s your neighbor, co-worker, first responder, teacher, nurse, stranger or, yes, even our local elected officials, there is never an interaction we have in life that is worse because we were too kind or too polite.

We might not always feel we get what we give in return, but that’s not the point.

The point is we continue to treat people how we want to be treated, even when it’s challenging — and even when we feel we aren’t being heard or getting the outcome we hoped for.

And, yes, this is even true in politics, especially when it comes to our local elected officials.

People serving on city councils, school boards and county commissions are people first and foremost. They are not “professional politicians,” they do not vote partyline first and community second — they’re in those roles because they want to truly help their communities.

Are there rare exceptions to this? Sure, but the exception should not be considered the rule.

When we get to a point in our local political discourse that elected officials resign not because of scandal or investigation but because their school-age children are now considered fair game, then we’ve really lost sight of decency.

It’s both sad and concerning that Garfield Re-2 school board member Katie Mackley felt that she had no other option but resignation to stop the fever-pitch rhetoric directed not just at her and her fellow board members, but her family as well.

Passion is great — advocating for one’s policy desires and beliefs is great as well. But neither of those should excuse throwing decency out the window.

One group of elected officials who might be able to lead on this? Our Garfield County commissioners.

All three commissioners are well-established voices in local politics, and (we believe) people put weight to the words and thoughts of those three. We’re not saying it’s their job to intervene in another elected board’s business, but there is opportunity here still for them to offer guidance for those new to political discourse.

At the end of the day, however, people have to take responsibility for their own actions. It’s not easy and not always pleasant, but sometimes the most necessary thing we can do is reflect on our individual selves and ask: Did I do the best I could by someone?

If we are honest, all of us will sometimes answer “no,” and while there’s no changing the past, we can always do better for the future.

The Post Independent editorial board members are Publisher Bryce Jacobson, Editor Peter Baumann, Managing Editor/Senior Reporter John Stroud, and community representative Amy Connerton.

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