Tough choices before Election Day

Published 8:46 pm Tuesday, October 26, 2010

An important Election Day is less than a week away, and this message is approved by a guy who spends too much time watching goals, touchdowns, balls and bats, both in person and on a sofa.

In Suffolk and regionally, there seems to be more interest, and more candidates, for the offices up for election this coming Tuesday.

Perhaps it’s an effect of tough problems and tougher potential answers than usual right now, locally and beyond.

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Having more citizens interested enough and motivated enough to put themselves forward to run for public office, even, dare I say especially, for “little” School Board and City Council races, is an outstanding sign for a community’s future.

In our republican form of government, local seats are, or at least should be, as important as state-wide and federal ones.

Maybe not to the same degree, but the same sacrifices of time, money, stress and family life go into a decision to stand for a City Council seat that are necessary for a U.S. Senator. Plus, for the winners, all that stress increases when they actually start the job.

Incumbent or challenger, it’s an admirable choice all by itself to step to the plate for, by design, a public accounting of oneself.

Sure, politics, from the local to the national level, carries its share of ego or even ulterior motive. It’s not all shaking hands, cutting ribbons and campaign posters with red, white and blue designs. There’s certainly no way to put politics aside in politics.

For winner or loser alike next Tuesday night, though, they deserve thanks and gratitude. At the very least, even for someone who’s 180 degrees from what you think, all the local candidates deserve respect.

With all the slings, arrows and stress, all the stuff said and written, all the time away from more leisurely or financially rewarding pursuits, it’s a wonder anyone enters a political campaign.

For city or local races, it’s even possible or likely to be in church, a PTA meeting, do business with or have kids in the same little league as folks who ran or worked against you, and hence vice-versa. In that sense, a School Board race might be even more trying than running for governor or senator.

Political debates, and therefore the end results, are better when people with various experiences and knowledge care enough to run for office. That only happens with citizens who care enough to take such a decision upon themselves, knowing full well the challenges they will face and the sacrifices they will make in the process.