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Voters need to demand compromise

Published 9:06am Monday, November 12, 2012 Updated 11:12am Monday, November 12, 2012

Maybe the concept of compromise doesn’t start in Washington or St. Paul.

Maybe our representatives aren’t the leaders, but the followers.

That’s the opinion of Eddie Ryshavy of Plymouth whose letter to the editor appeared online and in Wednesday’s Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“Maybe if, during this period of calm and reflection, we could start to discuss areas of compromise rather than maintain mutual hatred,” said Ryshavy. “We could use our political creativity to force convergence. Maybe then we could atone for the societal damage done during the campaigns and set a new tone for the next election. Maybe.”

He said that, what’s left for many voters, are hard feelings, torn family fabric, guilt and regret over what’s been said to people close to us.

“We now have plenty of time to lament our behavior during the last several months. You know what I’m talking about,” said Ryshavy.

He urges people to disengage from the ads, slogans, slurs, half-truths and misrepresentations.

“We can begin to see how juvenile our conduct has been and start to realize how we have been manipulated by the political parties, media and talk-show hosts into actually believing that every race was a life-or-death matter,” he said. “Every election takes on the characteristics of war, and one of the basic tactics is to demonize the opponent.”

Ryshavy said the political parties call for too many negative political ads, with personal attacks.

In future years, he says that voters could begin anew by spending some time researching calmly and intellectually the opposition’s positions, not to rebut them but to attempt to understand why they are held by so many people.

“We need to see if there are areas with which we could agree or at least live with,” said Ryshavy. “This exercise would be far more productive than analyzing what went wrong with the losing campaign and what worked well for the winners.”

He said that a couple of electoral votes one way or another is not a mandate.

“If nothing else, the last few years have shown that attempting to govern with only half the country’s support is not effective.”

 

•  •  •

 

The good news from Election Day was the high voter turnout in Minnesota, and elsewhere across the nation. Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) question of the day was to ask people about their voting experience.

One person from Barnesville wrote the following:

“I am so frustrated. I went to vote at my polling place on Front Street in Barnesville. I was there shortly after 7 a.m. The place was dark and closed up tight. There was no sign of being able to vote.

“I had made sure to check the previous day to verify my polling place as well as the time. I just called the place and they answered at 8:35 a.m.

“I asked why they weren’t open earlier this morning. The reply was that they do not open until 10 a.m. and it has been that way for 50 years.

“Really. Everyone else is getting to vote and I feel like I am being locked out because they can’t or won’t open early like everyone else.”

On the day after the election I called the Clay County Auditor’s Office. I found that Front Street in Barnesville is the township voting location.

Even though other polling places in town open at 7 a.m., the township can set their own times for voting. My guess is that the irate voter was given the wrong information the previous day.

 

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