As the year draws to a close, we inevitably look back and think about the events of 2016. The presidential election certainly stands out as unique in many respects. Regardless of one’s view of the outcome, the lack of civility in the public discourse during the election will not go down in history as a positive model for our democracy. Unfortunately, some of our local races were not immune to this phenomenon.
What, if any, lessons can we take from the elections in November? Our elected officials certainly need to provide leadership in this area and serve a positive role models. At the same time, each of us can and should work on engaging in conversations with those holding different points of view in a respectful manner. We surely will not always agree but we should be able to discuss issues in a civil manner.
For many, this election cycle has renewed our commitment to community service. The principles we believe in, including democracy, civility, open government, inclusiveness, are more important now than ever before.
Your local government does so much that can have a great impact on your everyday life. Right now, local governments and school boards are working on vital areas such as transportation, housing, services for seniors, and education in our communities. The League of Women Voters monitors what is going on in many of these areas; we invite you to join us in these efforts.
We have also developed a training unit on how local government works to help community members who would like to have an impact locally. Let us know if you or any group you work with is interested in learning more.
You may also want to check out the Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Santa Clara County websites to see if there is a commission or committee on which you would like to serve and apply for a spot on one of them.
On a positive note, over 82% of registered voters in Santa Clara County cast ballots in November. We are fortunate to live in a region where many people care about their communities.
We encourage everyone to do what they can, whether through the League of Women Voters or other organizations, to make democracy work in 2017. Please support the League and encourage others to join, especially young voters you may know who may feel alienated after the rancor of the recent election.
President, LWV Los Altos-Mountain View Area