A debate to be proud of

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 - 14:08

As the Aug. 28 primary election approaches, it’s likely we’re going to hear more radio advertisements from the various candidates asking for our votes. We’re probably also going to see some television spots, and anyone who reads this paper (or any other, for that matter) knows there’s been plenty of political ads in print as well.

The debate will ramp up tonight during a candidates forum at the Eagle River Lions Club, where a dozen candidates for local House and Senate seats are expected to share their views on the state of our community and how they plan to make it an even better place to live.

We can’t wait to find out how they answer the five questions that will be put to them by moderators Pete Mulcahy and Bobby Jefts — nor can we wait to find out how the audience reacts to the answers.

It should be an interesting night, to say the least.

But while there’s likely to be some candid — perhaps even heated — discussions, we’re hoping that all the participants can shake hands afterward and leave the Lions Club feeling like they’ve had an opportunity to make their case for why they’re the best person to represent this great community.

The fact that such an event can take place at all is a testament to how great we have it here in this country. Elsewhere on our planet — from Syria to Russia to North Korea — the ability to speak frankly and without fear of reprisal is not something folks enjoy to the extent we do…if at all. In some places, freedom of speech and the principles of democracy aren’t taken for granted, but crushed by totalitarian regimes whose leaders fear new ideas and challenges to their authority more than anything.

If you attend tonight’s candidates forum — and we hope you do — keep in mind that the simple ability to speak freely and openly is the cornerstone of our entire nation.

No matter who you support in the upcoming primary, always remember that the people running for public office are doing so because they want to take part in the greatest political system on earth. For that, they deserve both our respect and our thanks.

Good luck to all the candidates, both at tonight’s forum and in the upcoming election. It’s our belief that by running for office, you’re helping to keep the ideals this country was founded on alive and well.

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