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home : insight & opinion : guest columns
November 20, 2018

10/31/2018 11:17:00 AM
Politics messy, so free press is crucial
By GREGG BONELLI
For the Daily News

It was cold this morning and I could see my breath; that's bad and good -- I'm alive, but I'm in a place where the climate can kill me. Winter is coming, the trees have yet to show their colorful display to make us see some beauty in the falling temperatures, and we're going to have to scrunch up our shoulders and remember to dress warm again until spring.

Its a cycle, and I'm not complaining to still be riding it, I'm enjoying the ride even though I'm somewhat closer to the end of it than I used to be. I admit to being past the point of denying it will never end, and am also guilty of recognizing things now as part of a pattern that I once saw as unique when first observed.

Political parties gain and lose power and give and yield advantages in the process while candidates attack one another personally. Its a tough business.

I did once yield to an appeal to run for office from a group of well intended people who believed I would do a good job and while being fair about it. I let them circulate petitions to see if enough other people felt the same and was gratified when they were successful and let them put my name on the ballot.

I was a public defender at the time and my duties didn't really give me any time to campaign so I didn't. Still, I got 42 percent of the vote in what proved to be a closer election than anyone thought it should have been, and so when I was approached four years later to run again I did, and gave it a serious effort that time, appearing at every festival and bean dinner I could and shaking hands with lots of people who offered them.

I did not win; in fact I got even fewer votes after the voters got to know me. There is probably a lesson there and I took it that I should stay out of politics and have ever since.

For me there is an impossibility involved with the chore of trying to be all things to enough people to win an election, and then remain true to yourself and the forces that act on you as you struggle to accomplish things in the interests of your supporters that are consistent with the greater good. Every issue has two sides and depending on how things are handled, you can look bad to some and heroic to others at the same time.

Politics in a democracy is not pretty, nor perfect, but its the world's best system for protecting human rights and as a human I am interested in their preservation even if it disappoints me now and then.

Like winter, elections are cyclical. We turn up our collars or put on long underwear or snowbird to Florida until they are over. For a while we may feel compelled to participate ourselves but in the end, our vote is just one of many and its what let's us feel like part of the process that makes things the way they are.

Spring will come again. People will be elected and they will do things we agree with or not and we will let them know how we feel about it. We're not murdering journalists here yet, and what you've just read is an exercise in that arena which sets our country, our town, and our newspaper apart from Saudi Arabia, or anywhere else. A free press makes all the difference.

You can disagree with me right here on this page and I will read and consider your opinion with interest. Then we should all go vote and after the election we should shake hands and work together with whoever wins to make our community as good as it can be for all of us who live here.

That's the American way - or it should be, in my opinion.





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