EDITORIAL: Picking up post-election pieces
Another midterm election is now in the books, even though some race outcomes might not be known for days.
Some Press readers are battling a serious dose of disappointment today. Others will happily suffer minor hangovers from last night’s celebrations — and perhaps pick up where they left off.
Voters, here’s our message to you:
The results of this election will almost certainly not be as horrible or wonderful as the most cynical and pollyanna predict. If your team got its rear end kicked, if there were some upsets that really upset you, keep in mind that elections are cyclical. A beautiful aspect of this still democratic republic is that the people get to correct mistakes or imbalances on a regular basis.
Candidates who came up short:
Even though you didn’t win, you helped ensure the voting public did. By giving voters choices, you created competition — an essential element of the democratic process.
Candidates who won:
Congratulations — and condolences — on your victory. You have captured what you sought; now the onus is on you to lead wisely and ethically.
What does wise and ethical leadership look like? Well, it looks like an elected official who works hard to represent all of her or his constituents. It does not look like an elected official who marches to the beat of a special interest group or a political party.
A wise and ethical leader communicates openly with constituents, not just power brokers with vested and sometimes unethical interests.
That means answering emails, letters and phone calls from constituents who probably can’t help you. It means getting out in the public with ears and eyes open and mouth shut, absorbing citizen feedback as a whole rather than cherry-picking only the agreeable parts.
A wise and ethical leader will, at times, cast votes that rain criticism or even condemnation down upon them. That’s because the leader has the courage and the conscience to do what they have decided is best, even when none of the options is anywhere near perfect.
A wise and ethical leader will make mistakes — and have the guts to admit when they’re wrong and then work doubly hard to not mess up again.
Whether you winners will assume unpaid community positions or powerful and well-paid posts, remember that you now are indebted to repay the trust invested in you by constituents. You owe them your very best, and we hope with all our heart that you’re able to deliver.