As each election year passes, so too does the seemingly small amount of civility left in them.
While political vitriol floods the national political stage, one would ideally hope that doesn’t need to be the case on the level of local elections.
Not the case.
Whether it’s a city council race, mayoral race or even a ballot issues, our communities are hashing out candidates and issues in a way that feels more divided and antagonistic.
Ultimately, most of us (discounting real life and online trolls) seek the maximum betterment of our cities and counties. We seek a great quality of life, low government overhead, address of social issues that require more collective efforts and a safe place for our families to live, receive education and work.
But, of course, candidates and issues are never that simple — and that’s to be expected.
What’s not OK is the continuing character assassinations that happen in local city elections all over Northern Utah and beyond. It’s not something unique to our area of Utah. But we seem to have fallen in with the national status quo that allows online bullying during campaigning, perpetuating false accusations for political gain and outside influences weighing in financially and otherwise on the outcome of local government elections.
This is no way to encourage our fellow neighbors to take up the call to run for office and become a public servant. After all, we need more people — yes, like you — putting their hat in the ring for city council, mayors, county positions and state representatives down the road. Would you, though, based on today’s pressures and increasing financial spending on campaigns?
Through this cycle we’ve heard all manner of accusations: bribery, bullying, supposed large-scale conspiracy, malicious lying, the works.
The only way civility will reenter our election conversations is if we each individually demand so of one another, and demand it of our fellow neighbors running for office. Differences will always abound, but that doesn’t mean hate has to become a permanent guest in our political discussions.