Thoughtful, deliberate and impartial listening with critical thinking is the substance of government called democracy. The League of Women Voters of Juneau, like the more than 800 local Leagues all over America, sponsored such a forum on September 19th. While there seems to be no real impassioned issue for 2012 Juneau voters, several individuals are keeping democracy in Juneau alive and real. Two new candidates for the School Board and three new Assembly candidates have stepped up to take on the responsibility of solving local problems for the good of all of us. Two of these candidates, both League members, have added new ideas and healthy competition for the Assembly and Mayoral races.
The Juneau Empire and our local Public Radio news reporters faithfully covered the 2012 LWV Candidates Forum. Local League members worked for weeks, collaboratively and impartially to prepare pertinent questions for all the candidates. Those attending in person, listening by live radio broadcast, and those later reading and hearing the reporters’ accounts are positioned to make their own voting choices on October 2nd. Western cultural history is crammed full of kings, emperors, clerics, generals, and corporate bosses’ use of clever advertising and economic coercion to maintain social control. Indeed, that is exactly what our courageous national founders rebelled and sacrificed to do away with. League members, whether getting out the vote, sponsoring non-partisan forums, or running for office, act with sincere belief in the ability of each and every voter to make their own choice. We believe not only that every vote counts, but ever voter counts too.
Toxic partisanship abounds in our land. Indeed it has forced our national governance into inability to make rational, but eventually unavoidable, choices about the problems all humans face. I believe in Lincoln’s wisdom, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all the people some of the time, but cannot fool all the people all the time”. That wisdom continues to stand the test of time and can be reaffirmed in Alaska this October and nationally in November. I am grateful the League of Women Voters is “not for women only”. It is, at heart, for thoughtful, deliberate listening and thinking persons who are about solving the problems we all face.
George W. Brown, MD