March 24th, 2019

earl watt mugL&T Publisher Earl Watt


Today is one of my favorite days — it’s an election day. Much like being at Redskin Field on a Friday night, watching the results of an election brings the same excitement, and tonight is no exception.

There are three Seward County Commission seats that are being contested, and that’s also a good thing. Voters should have choices, and no matter the outcome, the candidates were willing to put their name on the ballot so that the voters had options.

It’s a tough decision to make, and win, lose, or draw, I want to thank each one that was willing to risk losing an election in order to give voters a choice on leadership.

These elections matter, perhaps more so than the presidential elections. The president doesn’t affect your property taxes. The president doesn’t set the local housing codes or the regulations on local businesses.

The people that affect your life more than any other are the locally-elected officials, and yet these elections tend to have the lowest voter turnout.

I’ve never understood why we will get excited to vote for president but not for city and county commissioners.

But it’s not how many people vote that makes an election successful.

Everyone had the chance, and some will choose not to participate. If they aren’t aware of the candidates, they are performing a civic duty by not voting. Only those who have been invested in the election by educating themselves on the issues and the candidates should cast a vote.

While I will be excited to see the results come in tonight, and you can, too, on our live broadcast at, the most important part of al elections comes the day after.

This is a message lost in our country, but hopefully we can restore it here.

There comes a time when the campaign ends and governing begins. There comes a time when we have to respect those who cast votes, and the candidates that were chosen should have a chance to enact the policies they said they would do during the campaign.

It’s really not about the candidates at all.

It’s about you, the people who elected them.

The will of the people is shown through the election process, and once the voice of the people has been heard through the selection of leaders, that decision should be respected.

What undermines the will of the voters would be last-minute actions by those who have been rejected by the voters to try to oppose the will of the voters by carrying out actions they know the voters rejected.

When elected officials use lame-duck periods to retaliate for the results of an election, they aren’t hurting the newly elected officials as much as they are hurting the people of the community.

Unfortunately, we don’t have to look back very far to see how this happened in our own community and how it will continue to cost us all.

Not only have we seen irresponsible leadership reject the will of the voters, but we have also seen them continue the bickering and backbiting after elections, trying to inject themselves in the public discussion by criticizing every decision made by those who have been empowered by the voters to lead our community forward.

From negative social media posts and attacks against anyone who disagrees with their viewpoint, they seem to never let go of an election loss. Again, this is something we have seen at the federal level.

Leadership is not just from those who win.

Leadership — statesmanship — also comes from those who lose.

You can tell those who respect the will of the people and those who simply seek political power. If they do not accept the will of the people and give the newly elected officials a chance to lead, they have no respect for the voters.

It doesn’t matter at that point what campaign tactics were used. Once an election is over, it is the role of the defeated to reconcile with the victor for the good of the community.

There will be another day and another election, and that’s the time to make a case for new leadership.

But leading a powerless revolt all the time accomplishes nothing but a divided community.

Perhaps that’s the goal — if I can’t win then I’ll burn the place down on my way out.

But that garners little support.

Wednesday morning, the election will be over for three key county commission races, and whatever the outcome, I encourage the candidates to accept the will of the voters, whether you agree with their choice or not.

True leadership doesn’t always come with victory. Winston Churchill was voted out of office, after all, but he didn’t spend the rest of his life fighting the British people. He became a noble statesman.

As a community, we should reject any attempts by those who would seek to undermine tonight’s outcome.

If some do not know how to lose with dignity, they would not have known how to win with humility, either.

Elections are a time to move forward, and that is what will happen tonight. Whether you voted for the person who will move us forward or someone who came up short, you, too, have a responsibility to the greater good.

Elections should not be about winner-take-all positions like we see in Washington. If your candidate wins tonight, encourage them to reach out and to listen to those who did not win, and if your candidate loses tonight, encourage them to congratulate the winner and to encourage support for those who won.

Concession is an important part of the democratic process. It’s not a surrender, and it’s not about the opposing candidate. It’s not to let go of core convictions and values.

Concession is about reconciliation in the moment, and a recognition of the will of the voters at this time in history.

Those who are given much responsibility also have a job to do in reaching out to those who come up short. The campaign is over, and all ideas should carry some value.

After tonight, let’s let the election be over. and unity to begin.

Pick your language/Elige su idioma

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