Well, the 2017 election is over and we await the final vote count which should be sometime next week.
I hope you, like me, are breathing a sigh of relief. The public has spoken — at least those that have chosen to vote, and now our community can get prepared for all of the newly elected officials taking office in January.
I don’t think this election season went as planned at all. I bet there is a city government candidate or two out there that had no idea that city politics could get as ugly as they have recently been when they initially registered to run prior to the June 1 deadline.
In all my years living in Great Bend, I’ve never seen individuals attacked so viciously or unfounded accusations so prevalent.
It never crossed my mind that our community could stoop to that. Sure, there are always a few outspoken individuals who will try to stir things up, but normally members of our community won’t just blindly believe what people say without verifying for themselves the truth, or at least applying logic.
I have always thought of our community as a group of independent thinkers, willing to listen and consider, but still skeptical and thoughtful.
I guess what ends up amazing to me is that despite all of the turmoil, no candidates dropped out and we even got a few extras through write-in candidacies.
I don’t remember a time in recent years where we have had so much interest from people willing to serve in city government. Usually, we don’t have much choice of candidates — there would be only one running, sometimes maybe two. This year we’ve had several races that had a choice of three candidates!
It is heartening to know that there is reinvigorated interest in volunteering to serve this community, because that’s what this is. There is no paycheck. There is no glory. There are very few pats on the back telling you “good job” or that you’ve made the right decision. There is only the knowledge that you did your best to serve, but that’s worth something.
It is only by being involved that we can be certain our community is moving in the right direction.
Our community isn’t perfect, nor will it ever be. There will always be disagreement, people with agendas, people who are quick to point a finger and, of course, those who will create controversy.
The time has come for us to show our support to those newly elected as well as those already serving by truly listening to what they have to say, treating them with respect even when we disagree, and by being part of the solution.
Stay involved. Stay engaged. If you know what’s going on right now, five years from now you won’t have to speculate about what may or may not have happened; you’ll already know.
Right or wrong, there is no undoing the past; we can only move forward and remember in the end we are still neighbors.
Mary Hoisington is the publisher of the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.