We’d like to put the spotlight on a few of our local leaders and amplify what we’d like to see from our state and national leaders.

This week we reelected Allison Watters and Wright Bagby to serve on the County Commission. They’re both heavily involved in the community, very well known and well respected.

But that’s not what we want to highlight, it’s how they — and their opponents — ran their races for the County Commission.

Now, Allison and Wright were challenged by Charles Smith and Shonna Bailey. Who are both well known and well respected in the community as well.

The incumbents are members of the Republican Party and the challengers are members of the Democratic Party. On the national stage there is no shortage of bile from both major political parties — but locally that just didn’t surface.

After the results came in, Shonna wrote a concession unlike many in our national races on her social media page.

“Good Morning, I have reached out to Allison via telephone to congratulate her on her re-election. She and I have been talking over the course of this election because that is who we are as women. Floyd County has spoken and she was re-elected. Thanks to the many supporters along this long journey. I love each and every one of you!! Let’s all continue to come together and do great work!”

Allison responded.

“As I’ve said all along, we were both running FOR Floyd County, not against each other. I appreciate your service to our community!”

If only our national leaders would take a page from this interaction!

In this country there are many issues we need to address:

Despite how you feel about the outcome of the presidential election, overall the results are a good thing this go around.

We still have a healthy balance in Congress — despite the predictions of a “blue wave” and later a “red wave,” both of which appear to be unfounded.

The reality is we need our representatives to figure out how to work together for the good of the country. Divisive politics, aka putting your party’s concerns before the concerns of all Americans, has to stop.

It’s been the popular way for politicians to promote their brand for some time. Let’s just be honest with ourselves; many of the people we send to Congress are going there looking forward. It’s a career path: local office, state legislature, Congress — then coming back as a lobbyist.

Our former U.S. Rep. Tom Graves — as much of a bomb thrower as he was in his early days — eventually simmered down and is now looking forward to a lucrative path in the lobbying industry. Power and influence exchanged for money and influence.

That path isn’t anything new but, again, it doesn’t have to be this way. We need servant-leaders who go into office with the idea that they’re there to improve the lives of the people they serve.

We have that locally, now we need it nationally.

We’ll leave you all with a parting thought from George Washington’s farewell address.

“The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you.

“It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize.

“But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

“For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections.

“The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles.

“You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.

“But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those which apply more immediately to your interest. Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the union of the whole.”

Thank you for reading.

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