It’s time for solidarity!
The TIMES goes to press at noon on Tuesdays so the election results will be in the Nov. 14 edition of the paper, not the Nov. 7 edition.
Area residents will know the results of the local elections thanks to both the daily newspaper on Wednesday and various forms of media including television and social media.
Recently, nearly every where I go, I hear: “I can’t wait for the elections to be over.”
In nearly 40 years of observing and covering elections in northwest Arkansas, I have never seen such caustic, vitriolic, malicious, hateful comments connected to campaigns as I have in our city these past few months.
The comments, at least from what I’ve seen, are not coming from the candidates but from people supporting them. Some of those people do not live inside the city limits and therefore can not vote, but they seem to feel qualified to cast aspirations on others.
Interestingly, living in a small community, we can often pat ourselves on the back that we’re not affected by the hatefulness often seen in state or national campaigns. We brag that we have a loving, supportive community. And, we do. But, some of the seedier side has been revealed over the past few months.
Ironically, I’ve read social media posts from people who blame the “other side” for being hateful and disparaging while themselves being disrespectful and mean.
Social media platforms have changed how people communicate in this era, but it doesn’t really change peoples’ hearts. What may have been whispered behind closed doors or possibly with a close friend at a coffee shop is now blasted across social media and is more visible to more people. All people are a composite of good and bad. We all have capabilities of both.
Regardless of the outcome of this election, it appears some damage has been done that may be irreparable.
It’s been said that we should be able to disagree agreeably. But that hasn’t been the case in many campaign situations lately.
When people resort to yelling, name calling, interrupting and demeaning behavior, they reveal their own character.
Numerous times, I’ve been at an event and then later heard or read people’s reports of the events and found them to vary vastly from what I observed.
In Scripture, we read: “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” Proverbs 18:17.
“Consider the source” is an old adage that is pertinent. Just because someone says something or writes something, just because something is posted on social media, doesn’t make it fact. Saying something is a “fact” doesn’t necessarily make it a fact.
Some of the issues being contested on social media have had the facts as received from City Hall published in the newspaper over the past year. The budget has been published. City employees’ salaries have been published. The city’s and school’s financials are published annually in the legal section of the newspaper.
The Freedom of Information Act adopted by the state of Arkansas is provided for anyone (not just members of the press) to obtain public records. If a person truly wants to know, the resources are there. The law provides for access of all public records.
Regardless of the outcome of this election, we should forgive those who’ve been hateful and unkind and strive to work together for the betterment of our community.