The right tone for responsible governing

The levels of political connectedness today vary greatly. There are large rallies for the president that draw lots of people who are very vocal and engaged; yet there are also those who relate to whatever is happening in the government only through social media, with the opinions of those on any stream of thought becoming their reality. But there has also been a resurgence in activism, with the young and the not-so-young finding their voices on many issues of critical importance in our society. 

Trust in national media is just about nonexistent, so Twitter has oddly become what many see as the best way to gain insight into any politician’s mind. It may seem as if it’s the perfect platform on which to challenge political statements, to change the minds of those in charge, to have a direct line to them. But such online exchanges don’t require mutual respect, so can too easily lead to a downward spiral of angry disconnection. 

Local events like the Candidates’ Debate for the 64th and 30th Districts, cosponsored by The Lakeville Journal and the League of Women Voters of Litchfield County on Friday evening, Oct. 12, at Housatonic Valley Regional High School, have in the past couple of decades drawn anywhere from 150 to 250 people. So it was extraordinary and noteworthy that more than 400 people arrived on Friday to see their candidates express themselves in a structured, timed format, sitting next to one another for an hour and a half while debating the issues. The entire group had to be moved from Room 133 to the high school auditorium on the spur of the moment in order to fit. The audience, candidates, the many volunteers including students, and the high school staff reorganizing the event all cooperated genially to have everyone included in that almost surprising moment of strong civic engagement.  

Almost, but not quite surprising, because in this moment of extreme national partisan divide, communities that have any cohesion whatever are longing for some connection, informed by the aforementioned mutual respect, to find solutions to their problems. That was proven in our community Friday night. The answers may not come easily, but they will be discovered if the ability to work together that was in evidence at the debate can be translated to governing. 

Thank you profoundly to all who made this event a successful one, but thanks especially to the four candidates who are willing to serve and were willing to come together under the bright lights to reveal their visions and their goals for Connecticut.

64th District House Candidates

Democrat Maria Horn

Republican Brian Ohler

30th District Senate Candidates

Republican Craig Miner

Democrat David Lawson

These candidates conducted themselves with grace and dignity, choosing their words carefully and speaking to each other and to their constituents respectfully. We can only thank them for setting an adult, committed and informed tone that we wish could work its way up to national politics.