Valuing civility

Election season is upon us, and already the gloves are coming off between candidates and between some candidates and the public. The first ballot is months away from being cast, but the first punches have certainly been thrown.

In some races already votes of confidence are coming down to where candidates stand on certain issues. Out of consideration is whether or not the candidates, if elected, would have any influence over those issues. Neighbors are pitting themselves against neighbors, and the political divides are becoming painfully obvious.

Everyone should stand up for what they believe in. Everyone should help create the change they want to see in their community. The trick is to make a positive change in the community in a positive way, without resorting to backstabbing and dirty politics. At this point, all of the current candidates in all three cities are staying in the game for the long haul. It’s now up to everyone else to do their part. Get out there and do your homework before you vote. Research your community’s candidates, what they stand for, what their track records are and what their background is.

At the end of the day, campaign promises often are just ploys to encourage voters to come to a candidate’s side, unless that candidate has the intent and ability to follow through if elected. Part of responsible voting is knowing what you’re endorsing before you go to the polls. While it’s tempting to vote for your friends or vote for someone who makes grand promises, it may not be the best decision for your community and how you want it to be two years from now.

In the meantime, remember that we’re still a community. No matter who ends up in office in any of the three cities, we’re all living on the same seven-mile stretch of sand. Every candidate is a friend, neighbor or a welcoming face that you likely see every day. If elected, they will be less politicians and more public servants who receive precious little compensation for their time and effort.

As we gear up for the election, let’s not forget the real focus – our Island community. It’s still a long road to November. Let’s all try to stay friends and reject the incivility that seems to be spreading throughout this land.