Monday, August 14, 2006

Lemme ask you this...

So, I've had several conversations last week with several different people about the upcoming elections and the state of local politics in general. So, what?

I know, it's rather unsurprising that someone who spends so much time writing about local politics would actually talk it about it, as well.

But, really, I don't like talking about politics. I actually actively try to avoid political discussions altogether, and something I've said many times on this blog is that we would probably be better off in local elections if they were entirely non-partisan.

Anyway, back to these unusual conversations. The gist of each was that the tone of this election season is especially harsh. Divisiveness is to be expected, my companions have said, but this year it has soared to new heights.

Now, I'd be lying if I said I didn't agree with most of those I've talked to, but, then, just a low level of rigid partisanship rankles me, even if I occasionally fall into its inviting trap.

Since I followed the 2002 election as a casual observer -- local blogs didn't exist back then, the dark ages -- I really have no apt comparison to use when judging the polarization of this election. The only other election in which I've been intimately involved turned ugly after the polls closed, in large part because of a mistake I made as a cub reporter. But that's a whole other story.

With respect to blogs, we've provided a forum for opinions that may not have been heard in elections past, meaning that the vitriol may have been there, albeit muted.

So, shifting the conversation to the virtual world, what do you think? Is this election season particurlarly hostile? If so, does partisanship help anyone? Hurt anyone? Is it a sign of things to come, or just a small bump in an otherwise smooth road?


Evan said...

I actually don't think this election is any more hostile than most. From what I can tell, except for a few exceptions I think most of the races have been focused on issues voters care about and frankly these are very important elections with some very important issues to be decided. Also sometime discussing issues can be divisive because people may differ on very important decisions that need to be made, but that is not a bad thing. Lets talk about these issues, let the candidates present there positions and ideas, lets compare what is said with what is a candidates record, and then each voter can decide for themselves. Knowledge empowers and sometimes conflict and disagreement provides useful information.

hocoblog said...

We need only go back and look at the partisan politics between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists of the 18th Century to know that "The more things change the more thesy stay the same".

Tom Berkhouse said...

I think it is going to be a very bitter election year cycle in the County and especially in the State (gubenatorial election).