In a Facebook exchange a few weeks ago a local political activist in Easton wrote to my friend “Your insistence in making local politics a national issue is mind boggling.”
A reasonable challenge. Let me propose why national issues are relevant to local campaigns, for me.
When George Bush took office we did not know 9/11 would happen. When our current local leader took office he did not know COVID-19 was coming. It is prudent to elect leaders not based solely on the one or two issues that are top of mind, but broadly on their character, judgment, and whether their values and principles align with ours, because the most important decisions they will make may be ones we cannot foresee.
I don’t think any local candidate is necessarily going to affect national issues, whether elected or not. But their approval of the President tells me about their values and priorities.
I am not saying every supporter of the President is a bad person. But some combination of their values about democracy, their willingness to accept unreliable “information,” their prioritization of their pet issues above respect for the rule of law and argumentation based on fact not fabrication, their callousness concerning the lives of legal asylum seekers and Black lives – it all adds up to a person whose judgment is so misaligned with mine that I cringe at the thought that they would “represent” me in the legislature.
They represent instead the tragic downward spiral the nation has found itself in.
If I were voting in 1950, I would never vote for a supporter of Stalin’s Gulags even though he promised to lower my taxes. Some principles are fundamental and should never be compromised. I will not compromise on America. I will not sabotage the American experiment in democracy.
Ira Kaplan lives in Easton.