To the editor:
In the Sept. 23 issue of The Central Virginian, a letter writer asks what commitment means to you. This letter is in reference to the candidates in our upcoming local election. They claim that a candidate must profess their commitment to a national political party in order to demonstrate personal integrity. To me, integrity is shown by commitment to one’s personal values, not those of a group. Committing to a group may require an individual to take actions which do not align with their core beliefs and values.
The author is naively simplistic in describing individuals within each of the two major political parties. Is this person really unfamiliar with the concepts of moderate, conservative and progressive elements within each party? These various groups hold very different views on the issues at hand, and opinions often overlap on some level between different party members on numerous issues. Very few people are at the extreme end range of opinions, but rather hold complex, nuanced views. When people commit to a party above their own judgement, they put themselves at risk of becoming a pawn, and worse. This is not to say you shouldn’t affiliate with a political party if you so choose; just keep an open mind and use your own judgement to vote the way your heart and mind guide you.
The letter writer says that in order to select a candidate for the Louisa County Board of Supervisors, one must know their national party affiliation. However, it is only in recent years that candidates in local races identified as Republican or Democrat. What does commitment to a national party mean for somebody who is running for a position in which they will be solving the specific problems of Louisa County? We need people who can work together unencumbered by the divisiveness we see on the national stage.
As citizens, we all have a responsibility to learn about the candidates and the issues, rather than abdicating our power to an organization that produces overly simplified and sometimes inaccurate sound bites. The more options and opinions that are presented to us, the better we can analyze and develop our understanding of the issues. The candidates are participating in forums; they have websites, and they have generally been very available to anyone who wants to know where they stand. Yes, it takes a little more work. However, informed citizens are what it takes to have good government.