Partisanship is poisonous enough already, ripping America to pieces. Why would anybody want to pollute the political air even more?
Yet a political group is organizing fundraisers and mustering the Grand Old Party faithful for local elections, even though those elections are supposed to be non-partisan. The stated goal of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans is to put one of their proponents in every office - no exceptions.
Now, before anyone's tempted to lecture us on trickle-down economics or the value of charisma in high places, understand that we're not painting the RRs as any kind of enemy. Philosophically, there's a lot we agree with them on: namely, smaller government, lower taxes, more disciplined spending and distance from burgeoning unions in the public workplace.
But it's not an accident that local city elections are non-partisan. That's the way citizens want them, and that's the way they should stay until a majority of citizens demands to see an R, a D, an I, an L or an XYZ after candidates' names on the ballot.
One of the problems with political affiliations is that they don't really mean anything. Ken Howard, a well-known lawyer and Democrat who won a seat on the North Idaho College Board of Trustees - another non-partisan election - has steadfastly led the charge against NIC increasing property taxes this year. Howard is an elected official who studies issues intently and makes decisions based upon information, communication and understanding, not any political ideology. His performance as a trustee has been a pleasant surprise to many, including The Press editorial board, which endorsed his opponent.
When groups embark on a mission to raise the public's voting consciousness, that's laudable. But there's a better alternative to promoting candidates because they wear the same lapel pins. That's encouraging citizens to do their own research and discovery, which is more readily available in local races than state or federal.
Read the candidate profiles carefully (cdapress.com/news/political). Participate in any debates, forums or town halls created to share information on all of the candidates. Communicate directly with the candidates; many are in the phone book and/or communicate via email and Facebook. When you believe you've done your research, share your views with thousands of other voters by submitting candidate endorsement letters (275-word limit) to The Press.
Local, non-partisan elections are ideal for choosing the best individuals to represent you. We encourage everyone to turn out the lights on party politics.