Political contests could use a few professional referees too | ParkRecord.com

Political contests could use a few professional referees too

The Park Record Editorial, Sept.29-Oct. 2, 2012

There should be a book of etiquette just for politics, especially on the local level. The perfect guide would offer seating charts for hosting dinner parties with guests of opposing political views and proper protocol for refusing unwanted campaign literature. It would also outline subtle tactics for defusing heated family arguments over party affiliations and ways to patch those generation gaps that escalate into ideological shouting matches.

Yes, the uproar of another presidential election is upon us and will only get louder and crankier as Nov. 6 approaches. And while this newspaper is urging citizens to ratchet up their involvement in the political process, we are also hoping they will do it with a spirit of respect and empathy for those who disagree.

Summit County, especially, encompasses an extremely diverse electorate. Perhaps more than any other county in the state, local precincts swing from the far right to the far left. Politically our voices range from sagebrush rebels to environmental tree huggers — you could say that along the spectrum of red to blue, we are neon purple.

Unfortunately, that passion sometimes crosses the line — a spirited argument turns into a bitter fight, a strident stance into discrimination. Certainly we have already seen plenty of mean spirited campaigning on the national level, but there have also been a few dust ups on the local level.

Let’s be clear. Everyone has a right to their own political opinion. Vocal opponents to existing administrations need to be heard without fear of recrimination. the same token, incumbents and those who support them should not be treated as targets for vilification.

We know that this is a particularly tough time for those who work on the lower rungs of school and county government, who see their own futures as being dependent on the political winds. Some have already expressed insecurity over losing their jobs based on the outcomes of the current petition effort and the upcoming election. So let’s try this. Let’s keep the political rhetoric out of halls of government and let everyone, regardless of their party persuasion do their jobs.

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