Civility: Cravaack, Nolan can lead the way
The fall elections are now set. Let the Silly Season begin. Actually, voters charged with making difficult decisions about their elected leaders and the direction of our community, region and country are best served this fall by something not at ...
The fall elections are now set. Let the Silly Season begin.
Actually, voters charged with making difficult decisions about their elected leaders and the direction of our community, region and country are best served this fall by something not at all resembling silliness. For their sake and for everyone's sake, let's break from what's become an unfortunate norm with regard to elections. Let's push aside mudslinging, closed-mindedness, side-taking, candidate-bashing, misrepresentations, half-truths, outright lies and other tools of polarizing ugliness. They've done nothing but turn campaign seasons into distasteful street fights while turning off voters whose participation maintains our democracy.
Instead, let's embrace facts, truth and civility. Let's be willing to disagree without being disagreeable. Let's have honest debates and dialogues this fall. Let's show respect.
We can do it, too. And we can look to the candidates in the highest-profile races to lead the way, to set the tone and to offer examples. In the Northland, that responsibility falls to the two men now vying to represent Minnesota's 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives: incumbent Rep. Chip Cravaack, a Republican, and former Congressman Rick Nolan, a Democrat.
Both have character aplenty to rise above name-calling, baseless accusations and other political pitfalls.
"Where can we build the bridges?" Cravaack asked in a meeting last week with News Tribune editorial board members. "Let's start where we can reach a consensus and build from there."
Sounds like a public servant committed to sense and civility.
So does Nolan.
"The single-biggest thing I hear from people is the need to change the way we do politics," Nolan told the editorial board, also this month. "This country is in trouble. ... We've got to turn it around now."
Nolan and Cravaack -- and their supporters -- will have opportunities in the weeks ahead to campaign with class. Candidates in all races can then follow suit. The opportunities for Cravaack and Nolan include a candidate forum on Oct. 9 in Duluth sponsored by the News Tribune and the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce.
The newspaper and chamber also are planning a forum with candidates for U.S. Senate. And the editorial board is planning to host public candidate events featuring legislative and St. Louis County Board hopefuls. Watch upcoming Opinion pages for details.
Yesterday's primary narrowed the fields of candidates in partisan statewide races, including for U.S. Senate, U.S. House and Minnesota Legislature. The election also determined who'll face off on Nov. 6 in nonpartisan judge and county board races, among other contests.
Candidates who didn't make it through can be thanked for their participation, for offering voters quality choices, and for drawing attention to important issues. Such attention contributes to critical community conversations that can identify needs and that can lead to needed change and actual solutions.
Good luck to the candidates moving on. May they campaign with vigor. And may they please, for the sake of voters everywhere, keep it clean and civil in the weeks ahead.