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November 7, 2002

Now To The Work For ALL The Citizens

John W. Ashbury

The ballots have been counted and the winners are known. Actually the winners were known the day after the filing deadline passed.

All the candidates are winners, whether or not they were successful in their bids for public office. Participating in the political process is certainly one way to become involved in oneís community, perhaps the most recognizable.

It can be the most rewarding, and the most disappointing. This is the voice of experience here. But actually getting elected brings a whole different perspective to the process.

Now the victors must put away their partisan activities and work toward the betterment of our community. Some who move into new positions and some who continue in theirs must gather their thoughts and determine the best way to focus their energies to the citizens who put them into office - and to the representation of those who voted for their opponents.

This election was a nightmare for some. As the results came into the party at the Independent Hose Company for the Democrats, the mood switched quickly from one of hopeful anticipation to abject despair. While many thought the Hecht-Mooney race for the third district senate seat would be close, it wasnít. And when it became obvious that Delegate Sue Hecht would lose, the air in the Democratic balloon dissipated so quickly that it dampened the spirits of those present who were victorious.

At the Republican Party celebration, where the victory in the governorís race by Congressman Robert Ehrlich buoyed the enthusiasm of everyone, the bitterness of the supporters of some candidates, even those of the victors, surfaced and made some feel uncomfortable and mystified as to why.

Partisan politics has its place. But when all is said and done, everyone should be concerned about what is best for the citizenry, not who is going to make a mark in the family genealogy record. We must remember that horse thieves do a pretty good job of that, too.

Differing opinions as to who can best do the job is what politics is all about. But now that the process has come to a conclusion, party politics must be put aside. Certainly this partisanship will play a role in who gets appointed to what. But when it comes to what is best for the people, all elected officials must come to a consensus. Personal agendas have no place at the table.

So now we must all go forward, looking back only for perspective and guidance and never for retribution or revenge. Friendships cannot be rent asunder because of political gamesmanship. We can never allow ourselves to become so involved in politics that we forget who our friends are and why they are our friends.

So batten down the hatches. Prepare the ship for battle. Lower the sails to better ride out the storm. For tomorrow will bring conflict caused by a difference of opinion. But we must never allow our differences to mar our love for our friends - and for our fellow man.

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The best line heard at a polling place came from a poll worker for a candidate for the Board of Education.

At Walkersville High School a young lady told voters, as they walked the gauntlet of campaign supporters, that everyone should support DONNA because she was the most honest CROOK they could ever vote for.

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On the national scene, two measures to allow citizens to possess marijuana in small amounts went up in smoke - rejected.

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In New Mexico voters decided to continue to deny some of their citizens the constitutional right, privilege and obligation to vote. The stateís constitution now prohibits people who are "idiots or insane persons" from voting. An amendment to eliminate that went down to defeat.

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