This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

November 8th, 2004

It's Over


We've just been through one of the nastiest election seasons in my memory - save one which had a television advertisement with an atomic bomb and only ran one time against Barry Goldwater.

Unfortunately the "Truth in Advertising" laws do not apply to political campaigns or we would be seeing far fewer of them. Perhaps congress will repair the law outlawing 'soft' money and the 527 groups will not to able to attempt to buy the next election.

There were winners and losers. Frankly, I do not recall the 'conservatives' being as distraught when their candidate lost to Bill Clinton. Nor do I recall protests in the streets or the vandalism of Democratic election offices. I do recall the winners were decided the same or next day after the election.

Here in Washington state we still don't know who the new governor is. Ah, progress.

Perhaps all change is not for the better? Change for changes sake can be misleading.

Did you vote?

If so, hurrah. If not, too bad. You just lost.

As vitriolic as this election was we here at FAOL did not comment on either campaign prior to voting day. There still is more than enough hard feelings on the Bulletin Board about the Presidential election. Sad as that is, it isn't my point.

I'm not saying at all the Presidential race was not important - BUT - it may not have been in your local community. Who ran for the local zoning board? What was their platform? Who were your county commissioners? Who are they now? Are they conservationists or all for progress and paving more parking lots? Will Walmart be allowed to pave over the wetlands as happened here?

A few years ago I called the campaign office of Gary Lock, then running for Governor of Washington state. I asked what his policy was on the major salmon problem here. How did he feel about hatcheries? His spokesperson said he didn't have a policy nor an opinion. Turns out that wasn't true, and his biggest campaign donor was Tyson Foods, who owns the biggest fleet of fish factory boats in the world. Lock served 2 terms as Governor. I voted against him both times. Nothing of course was done about a net ban, nor the rape of our inshore fisheries. However, the Washington State Democratic party won two big elections. The so-called party of 'conservation' was never required to explain that one.

We do need a strong leader at the national level, and regardless of your opinion or how you voted, the majority did elect President Bush for a second term. (For the first time I believe in 18 years.)

What happened on your local level? Is your river, stream, lake receiving the protection and attention it needs? Who is paying attention and managing your watershed? If not, why not? Who are your local leaders who are pushing for conservation and preservation? Or are all the 'big guns' Realtors and developers? Do you know?

Other than complain and whine, what specifically have you done on your local level to preserve and enhance what is left? What have you done to promote open space? Public access? Clean water? Green belts? Better fishing?

It's four years to the next national Presidential election. Two years before many in Congress are up for election. But it is only ONE year before some county offices are up for election.

Educate yourself. Attend county commissioners or city council meetings. Find out what is going on. Discover what the pressing problems are in your community! Get involved - or at least educated. Just being partisan doesn't cut it.

Remember the old saying "Charity begins at home?" So do elections! ~ DLB

If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!

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