To the editor: As those on either side of the aisle acknowledge, the 2016 election cycle was a tumultuous one. A common denominator for voters seems to be relief that the seemingly interminable contest is finally over and also a deep loathing for those who would even dare mention the upcoming 2020 election. As a young, first-time voter, 2016 forever changed my political outlook.
It might be surprising to learn that the vicious attack ads, brutal twisting of facts, outright lies and an exponentially increased sense of national division are not what altered my perceptions the most dramatically. My greatest take away came from a three month stint working as a field organizer on the Sheila Simon for State Senate campaign. During the time I spent with Sheila, I saw not only what a politician should be, but more importantly what an individual should be.
She was gracious to all people under all circumstances. She faithfully refused to partake in personal attacks or to ever make a low blow in order to score political points. Her campaign was one based upon a great respect for voters and a belief that regardless of the outcome, that they deserved her staying above the fray. When the final (losing) results rolled in, Sheila did not sulk in a solitary place. Instead she offered a luminous smile, sincere words of thanks, and her future recommendation for job and school applications.
Sheila Simon caused me to understand to a greater degree that the litmus test for a candidate should not be a party label. Even more so than policy objectives, which are uncertain to be accomplished, the proper criteria is laid out in scripture. We read in Galatians 5:22-23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." I saw all of these concepts actively displayed in Sheila's conduct. Now more than ever, it is time for Americans from all points of the political spectrum to expect these virtues in our office holders.
"Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer." -- JFK
Dennis Southerd, Mt. Vernon