Across the Aisle

This past week, Lake County Commissioner candidates more or less faced off at two forums held on either side of the county. Then and there, they answered questions that were fielded from their perspective constituents about a wide-range of issues that matter to their asker. With all luck going their way, they won votes or at least provided more information and an impression about what they would provide to the county. 

At the Lakeview forum, presented by Lakeview’s American Association of University Women chapter, five of the seven who are looking to win the Democratic Party nomination for Congressional District 2 were present. To me, this is a feat in itself. In an area that has historically gone the other way on the political spectrum, shown in the 2016 election when President Donald Trump raked in a higher percentage of voters in Lake than any other Oregon county. They were more or less stepping into a hornet’s nest. 

Yet, during the question and answer session of the event at the Lake County Senior Center, I was impressed with how cordial the audience seemed to be. Whenever a supposed controversial statement was made, even about Rep. Greg Walden, a Republican, there weren’t any scoffs or outbursts made. Though it would’ve made for a more entertaining evening, I was pleasantly surprised how the audience reacted, or didn’t react, when a candidate spoke against what has been transpiring at the United States Congress or dissenting opinions about even the most heated issues that would have drawn argument in another setting. 

This got me thinking about the state of politics we see today. It’s no secret that our country politics has seen a dramatic divide in recent years. The political climate has turned into a game of “us vs. them” with no winners except for the ones who can only make tally marks when a decision goes their way. 

Last week, we received our voter pamphlets in the mail, detailing who we would be voting for in the May election. As stated in a previous editorial, there are many and it would behoove every voter to read about each one before making the important decision. 

Right next to each name, except the non-partisan candidates, there is a political party attributed to each runner. The term “political party” makes it sound more fun than what it is in reality. Yet, for some it is a way to associate a person who a voter hasn’t met and make automatic connections. If they’re Republican, they may be more inclined to be aligned with ideals that that party has held important over the years and could be said the same for a Democrat. Not only do these parties provide support for the candidate, they also help allure like-minded voters. 

This may be all well and good, but it also creates that aforementioned divide. To overcome that, voters need to further research their choice of candidates, giving each time to win their vote before casting the ballot rather than mindlessly voting in favor of whatever party that they may associate. If we expect our representatives to reach across the aisle to accomplish anything in Congress, we should take the effort to do the same regardless of affiliation. 

— Jimmy Hall

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