Variations of the phrase date back to the 1930s in our country, which means that most people tend to vote based on how issues affect their lives on a daily basis.  Sadly, national politics and some of its radicals have infected even local elections and governance by promoting the decline in America’s democracy.

The Press reported that a forum was held by the Conservative Coalition of Otter Tail County for discussion by candidates for the Otter Tail County District 2 Board of Commissioner seat.  The session was held outside the district, and only about a dozen of the 60 attendees were residents and potential voters from the district.  The rest were what?  

Local elections for Otter Tail County Commissioners used to be about choosing good leaders (without party affiliation) who can maintain our roads, public safety, land and resource management, economic development and housing, and ‘living our best life here’, as the tag line goes.  Now we have candidates more focused on the Big Lie about the elections; the Bible; guns; and freedom (from what???), and liberty.

Good, decent, smart local school board members are not seeking re-election or resigning (as are teachers) because of constant attacks by radicals more focused on critical race theory (not being taught here, by the way), masking during a pandemic, and other issues that have little or nothing to do with actually educating our children.  

Even Jordan Rasmusson, a rising star in the Republican Party, is challenged by a local right-wing campaigner who thinks he’ll get a certain number of voters just by crying ‘guns, religion, no taxes, stolen election, no masks or vaccines’ and other radical right hot buttons.  Governance or leadership experience and ability don’t seem to matter much to some voters.

We can all do better by thinking about and voting for what really matters in living our best life here daily and the future for our democracy, and what really ‘is local.’

David Stene
Pelican Lake