Tune out the noise

  • Saturday, July 23, 2016 7:46pm
  • Opinion

It’s been a raucous week in national politics as rhetoric at the Republican National Convention reached a new level of vitriol. And we expect to hear more next week, as the Democratic Party will have its opportunity to offer a rebuttal.

Convention speakers were long on fear-mongering and finger-pointing, but offered very little in the way of solutions to the exaggerated crises they described. And it’s hard to fathom a speaker getting booed for telling Americans to “vote your conscience.”

Unfortunately, we expect the discourse to get even nastier between now and Nov. 8.

There’s not much we can do to steer the national political debate, but we do have the opportunity to maintain a civil discourse in our local political debates. In fact, the three candidates who attended last week’s U.S. Senate forum hosted by the Kenai and Soldotna Chambers of Commerce provided a good example of how to disagree with an idea in a civil manner.

Quite frankly, it is crucial that candidates — and the voters who will be asked to elect them — be able to debate issues as openly and as honestly as possible over the next few months, and refrain from the histrionics that have marked recent election cycles.

The state of Alaska is facing an unprecedented fiscal crisis, and choices made by the Legislature during the recent regular, extended and special sessions will leave the next Legislature with fewer options to address the situation.

A serious discussion of those options is crucial. Already, there is plenty of noise to cut through as various individuals and organizations scream about a raid on the Alaska Permanent Fund or call for impeachment of Gov. Bill Walker over his vetoes. Such antics do little, if anything, to solve the problem. Likewise, blaming one party or the other is of little use — there’s enough blame to go around for everyone, including Alaskans who have steadfastly refused to believe that there is a problem at all.

Candidates from the Kenai Peninsula running for state office have a wide range of views, and differing ideas on how to make government sustainable. We hope the debate continues to focus on those ideas, and how they might be implemented, as we head into the primary and general elections.

Finding a solution to Alaska’s fiscal crisis is far too important to leave to whoever can simply make the most noise.

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