There are a few things that both sides of the political spectrum can agree on: This election has gone on far too long, and it’s been far too ugly.
The nation has watched political name-calling, mud-slinging, “locker room” talk, threats of jailing the opposition, and allegations of potential voter fraud. Locally, we’ve heard reports of vandalized signs and stolen campaign materials.
It needs to stop.
On Nov. 8, the entire nation hopefully will know who won the presidential race. We’ll know which of the initiatives and amendments passed. And we’ll know who won local races for county commissioners, state races for the General Assembly and national races for U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Not to mention the outcomes of important ballot issues, some of which have been controversial as well.
Let’s hope the rude conversations, threats and character-bashing end once the votes are counted.
No matter who wins, let’s decide to take the high road and work together for the good of Colorado Springs, the state of Colorado and the nation at large.
(Read more about efforts to bring people together on Election Night on page 5.)
One thing that successful cities have in common — they build relationships; they collaborate; they work together toward a unified goal.
In the past, Colorado Springs hasn’t always been successful at tearing down silos and building bridges. But in the wake of perhaps the most divisive political contests in recent memory, it’s vital that at least on the local level, differences are put aside in favor of continuing to lay the groundwork for a world-class city.
Without cooperation from all sides, the National Cybersecurity Center won’t get off the ground. The U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame won’t see its first visitor and the new Summit House on Pikes Peak will remain an architectural rendering.
If we don’t build partnerships, workforce development will lag behind business needs, nonprofits won’t be able to complete their missions and the community as a whole will suffer.
If everybody is interested in protecting only their side and viewpoints, then the community will see the same kind of gridlock that goes on in Washington — no compromises, no way forward. Frustrations will mount and the rhetoric will first become heated, then increasingly unfriendly. Positions will be entrenched, the gulf will only grow wider and there will be no common understanding.
There’s too much at stake to continue the negativity.
Here’s the challenge: Let’s put aside differences that have been exacerbated during the election. Let’s ignore the Facebook posts that are begging for a response, and don’t encourage inflammatory dialogue by re-tweeting something that is guaranteed to start an argument.
Also, let’s actively seek out people we don’t agree with and discover the common ground outside of politics. Let’s all find ways to work across the aisle, to bring in more people to volunteer in nonprofits and schools. Instead of seeing the same people on committees, boards and running for office, let’s work to develop new talent, new ideas, new relationships.
If we can raise the level of civility in Colorado Springs, politics won’t be a subject people run away from. In fact, a reasonable discussion of the challenges that the city faces could result in more people running for office, embracing public service.
But first, we have to all decide to work together.
What kind of city do we want to live in?
One that has national notoriety for excluding minority groups and embracing hateful discourse or one where everyone is welcome and differing opinions are embraced? A city with a progressive vision for the future and a concrete path to get there? Or one mired in controversy and drama, unable to make the decisions needed for success?
We’ve seen what the first option gets us — negative press, less economic development and a reputation that keeps outsiders away.
So, starting on Nov. 9, let’s forget the election season that was — and face the future together.