It’s time to reduce bitter partisanship | Editorials

Walla Walla City Council is, as it should be, a nonpartisan body. That means those who run for a seat on the Council do not (and cannot) declare a political party.

City Council’s focus should be on issues such as local law enforcement, local fire service, local streets and myriad local services.

So, don’t be confused by the fact that tonight’s debate for two contested City Council in the August primary is sponsored by Walla Walla County Democratic and Republican party chapters and Whitman College’s politics department. This debate is not about party politics.

However, it about working together for the common good. We should also be pleased, whether we see ourselves as Democrats, Republicans or independents, that the two local political parties are working together.

“Our primary goals are to increase civic and voter engagement at the local political level, and to get candidates on the record with regard to their positions and interests in public service,” said Everett Maroon, the Democrat’s 16th Legislative District state committeeman, who is working with Skyler Rude, Walla Walla County Republican state committeeman.

“We are also hoping to quell some of the increasingly bitter partisanship since the 2016 election,” Maroon said.

Wow! How refreshing. This needs to be done.

Maroon and Rude are not alone in reaching across the political aisle seeking civility.

Last week, former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush appeared together at the graduation ceremony for the 2017 class of the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program held at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas.

Clinton, a Democrat, and Bush, a Republican, see the world differently from a political perspective. But they made it clear that despite their opposing political affiliations they are on very friendly terms personally.

“He’s a brother from a different mother,” Bush joked at the event, getting big laughs from the audience.

National Public Radio reported that Bush confessed that in the early days of his presidency he would often call Clinton for advice. And Clinton admitted his friendship with Bush’s father and Clinton’s predecessor, George H.W. Bush, was crucial to his success, NPR reported.

That should serve as a good lesson for us all. We can have philosophical differences of opinion but can also gain wisdom by considering the viewpoints of others.

Political tribalism (my party is right no matter what) is hurting this country. It’s time to look past labels and focus on the person.

What Bush and Clinton are doing is a great example.

So, too, are the efforts of Maroon, Rude and the Walla Walla County Republican and Democratic parties.

The nonpartisan Walla Walla City Council forum starts at 7 tonight in Whitman College’s Maxey Auditorium. 

Editorials are the opinion of the Union-Bulletin’s Editorial Board. The board is composed of Brian Hunt, Rick Eskil, James Blethen and Alasdair Stewart