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San Clemente Journal

What if they gave an election and nobody ran?

Nov 30, 2006 09:58PM ● By Don Kindred
Publisher's Message
by Don Kindred

An adventure in politics can be a humbling experience. Those who have signed on to willingly have their public and private values splayed in open forums and harshly judged by their once-friendly neighbors are a special breed, and mostly, they deserve our respect.

At the city council level, candidates must spend far more money on their campaigns than they would ever make in office, and should their pre-election efforts actually prove successful their lives will be changed dramatically, and it won’t all be parades. A simple difference in opinion, once so beneficial in happy hour bar banter may be used to incite anger, even threats of vengeance among their constituents. Often, many of the idealistic notions that worked so well in campaign speeches are drenched in office by strong doses of reality. If they do the job they’ve been elected to do, which is to study the facts, gain perspective and make difficult choices, they will probably hear more ridicule than applause. The hours it takes to do the job further narrows the field of office seekers. They must stay informed on subjects from refining budgets to building shopping centers, and decide how to hold on to the richness of past generations, while planning the future of new ones. 

Sidelines and bleachers are full of second-guessers and armchair quarterbacks who will point out their alleged mistakes from a safe distance, without the commitment, sweat and pressure of actually being in the game where the decisions must be made.

We’ve just survived an ugly election. The negativeness of our national partisan politics has shown up here in the village, and it is my hope that we have elected candidates who have more positive things to say about themselves than negative things to say about their opponents.

Regardless, it is to those who are left – who have shown the desire, made the effort and stood tall against personal and political assault to champion their causes and win a majority of the public vote – that we now owe our gratitude and support. Oh, there will be ribbons to cut and buffets to sample, but for the work they will soon be doing on our behalf, I’m grateful, because life is so much easier in the stands.

Progress in our country and our community is made, not by those who point their fingers, but by those who raise their hands.

Don R. Kindred