Editorial: In Rowan, work toward positive politics

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 3, 2019

Politics tends to bring out the worst in people. And elections in some municipal races this year have turned toward divisiveness as Election Day, on Tuesday, draws closer.

In Landis, the outgoing mayor in a letter he purportedly authored accused “rumor queens” of gathering around newspaper boxes and one candidate of trying to buy votes with “daddy’s money.”

In China Grove, a town council member is openly campaigning for the challenger in the mayoral race, saying the incumbent “promotes his own agenda regardless of our wishes.”

Just one day before the election, one challenger in Kannapolis will face questions from the Board of Elections about whether he lives in the city after a complaint alleged that he primarily lives on High Rock Lake. That’s despite the fact that he served on the council just two years earlier and owns a downtown Kannapolis business.

And in Salisbury there’s more controversy and divisiveness than one would think when all five incumbents are seeking re-election.

On Wednesday after results are final, however, there should be no question about the task facing town and city councils across Rowan County. Newly elected councils must collectively get to work improving their communities, forming at least a good working relationship with their counterparts.

Residents and outgoing board members who have prompted some of the divisiveness must join elected officials in working toward the same goal, helping board members understand problems and how to solve them as well as serving on citizen boards when needed.

That’s not to say debates won’t grow heated at times; there should be room for disagreement. At times, council members need to be able to tell one another “you’re wrong.”

But we need positive leadership and council members and mayors who find ways to unite people with different opinions around common solutions. Simply put, we need leaders who inspire rather than insult.

There’s already too much that divides us in national and state politics.

As Americans, North Carolinians and Rowan County residents, there’s more to unite than divide us. Let’s lead by example with positive politics in Rowan County and expect our elected leaders to set that example.

Former President John F. Kennedy captured the task facing all modern politicians, local or national, well in a February 1958 speech in Baltimore. Too frequently, our elected leaders fail to heed his advice.

“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer but the right answer,” Kennedy said. “Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past — let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”