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MEEKER | Rascals in. Rascals out.
More than 125 years ago, those two phrases were this paper’s editor’s words of choice to describe the political machinations that move below most of our country’s surface. That continues to happen today. Everyone’s perspective differs depending on their own agendas and allegiances. The rift between this country’s political party system only widens as the divisiveness grows. Year in, year out, communities split into sides over local issues. Residents of Meeker disagree over such issues as attracting a state correctional facility, as well as instituting a four day school week. The earliest efforts in both examples were based on the best of intentions. Those who joined committees collaborated and worked together for the shared purpose of improving either the local economy or the school district. That worked for a while, until as the saying goes, it didn’t. Residents fought and both community members and committee members felt that their efforts were not appreciated. It created tensions that built up steadily and eventually divided the community. It guaranteed that whatever the result, someone would not be happy. The original good intentions of community members disappeared and many individuals whose own interests and agendas were perceived as all important.
The political hot potato that provoked the editor’s so many years ago was the issue of the Northern Utes returning to hunt. The fact that the U.S. government specified this would be their right was of no matter to a few who were entering the political arena and wanted area residents to think things were much more dire. Copious warnings of the possible murder and mayhem worked their magic, and one individual’s agenda was satisfied. Taking advantage of the fear factor is essential for those who are determined to wield power.
I like the view espoused by the Herald Times editor in her column, “We don’t have to, we get to” in the Aug. 13 edition. I am a firm believer in voting. I do not think I have to, I get to. I grew up in a family who made sure I, as well as all my siblings, learned the importance of acting on that opportunity that is a part of democracy. While the election in November guarantees that each registered voter can exercise that right, participating in conversations with others with differing views is essential. When people are afraid to express their opinions because of fear mongering, reasoned arguments and solid political discourse no longer precede any election. Think about what has happened for years, where it appears that “rascals” being voted into office are only one of the same ilk.
Rascals in, rascals out.
By DOLLY VISCARDI | Special to the HT