Elections: Thanks to those who “carried on”

by Judy Ferro

“There is only one redeeming thing about this whole election. It will be over at sundown, and let everybody pray that it’s not a tie, for we couldn’t go through with this thing again.” –Will Rogers-

                Part of me wishes Will Rogers was around to comment on today’s election, and part of me is glad the humorist has been spared the hostilities of our day.

As bad as the presidential race has been, however, Idaho’s Congressional and legislative races have not been noticeably more rancorous than in previous years. I like to think it’s because Idahoans are basically civil and more likely to say “Oh, honey, I’m sorry but I can’t vote for a Democrat,” than to utter threats.

It’s possible, however, that the civility results from Republicans’ confidence. Democrats have not polled well in Canyon County, but we’ve developed bonds not unlike those of Cubs’ fans. We know that, somewhere over the horizon, lies victory. Meanwhile, we keep a spotlight on important issues, strengthen centrists, and influence legislative priorities and policies.

I’m particularly thankful to candidates who, year after year, step up knowing that the odds are solidly against them. They offer voters a choice and present our message. To a person, they advocate for better schools, the rights and dignity of all, and preservation of our public lands. I especially appreciate the commitment of those who are “pro-life for the whole life” and advocate for all people.

I’m beholden to the core team of Democrats who develop the plans, slap on the address labels, make the phone calls, and get their friends out to vote.

This year I’m particularly appreciative of the 1,775 Canyon County Democrats who shared their enthusiasm and comradery at the caucus in March. Of course, it wouldn’t have been possible without the 100 volunteers who signed people in, took part in the program and the band, and counted the ballots.

I’m grateful for those who represented Canyon County at the state convention and helped develop and adopt a two-page platform expressing Democratic values.

I’m also thankful to many who aren’t Democrats. Idahoans of all parties helped inform the public by making candidate forums possible, publishing candidates’ answers to questionnaires, providing fact checking, and writing informative letters-to-the editor. I value the insights into Idahoans’ views provided by the polls of Dan Jones and Associates.

I appreciate the friends and families that have maintained civil relationships through the trying presidential campaign by explaining their opinions, honestly and without rancor, or simply replying with a shrug and a grin.

And I appreciate the trained corps of election workers who are working long hours at the polls today and tallying votes all through the night.

I’m proud of the Idahoans who’ve worked through the decades to make voting accessible by providing voter information and registration forms on-line, instituting same-day registration, and providing for automatic enfranchisement of felons who have served their sentences.

And I’m thankful for the individual citizens who’ve taken the time to weigh the issues, learn about the candidates, and vote for the down-ballot candidates as well as for president

History will look on the presidential election of 2016 as bitter and nasty; we can hope its record is never surpassed. Quite likely, the millions who continued to maintain our democracy by responsibly carrying out civic duties will not rate a mention.

If we are to heal, however, we must remember not the outrages that earned the headlines, but the countless citizens who carried on.

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