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When transferring something of value, packaging is often accompanied by instructions to “handle with care.” As replacement cost and rarity increase, so do precautions. In high risk situations, haphazard and negligent procedures cannot be tolerated since extreme misery and pain can be the result, especially when avoidable. The idiom, “Bull in a china shop” expresses the probability of calamity if inadequate attention is given to such situations.

As national conventions for each principal political party are completed, the bulls – and consequences of their presence – are let loose in the china shop of our election season. Navigating through the twists and turns of the resulting chaos is up to the public, culminating in ballots through early voting, absentee voting and election day polling stations. Although the rhetoric can be daunting, filled with exaggerations, manipulation of facts and outright falsehoods, it is up to the electorate to decipher and decide what is best for their friends, family and themselves.

Political slogans such as “build the wall” and “defund the police” are used to rally emotional responses, but the meaning behind these short phrases is often shrouded in complexity and nuance. Many different meanings and values are attached by the multitude that use them. Politicians know this and can hide behind such slogans without defining what they really represent. While the exact translation of such word games is fuzzy and indistinct, a vote is not. The ballot is a permanent affirmation of trust and confidence in those that receive the vote, not a vague slogan, promise or gimmick.

On the local scene, many competitive races are about to debut with some interesting entrants. As candidates – incumbents and challengers – vie for votes, the question is whether national rancor will seep into local politics. Hopefully not. Careful navigation through the political landscape is a difficult task, but usually voters are able to sort things out and, if decisions turn out to be unfortunate and erroneous, correct the error. Unfortunately, this usually takes time and much damage can be done before the problem is rectified. In the case of elected office, including lesser known positions such as judgeships, a bit of effort can avoid a mountain of broken promises and an unhappy public. The ballot will be long in November requiring significant care when considering each candidate, proposition and measure put before voters. Consideration of who and what will best represent us will take time and effort.

As Tri-City Voice has done in past election cycles, our pledge to our readers is to offer all candidates and proposals (measures and propositions) an opportunity to present their qualifications – without cost to them – in a special October election edition. Our hope is that an informed electorate will handle this election with care and lead the bull of negligence away from our precious democratic system without harming its foundations. A plethora of methods are available to cast your vote; there is no excuse for shirking this privilege and responsibility.

Our democracy is worth the effort – handle with care!