By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Whatever the vote, it's in a democracy

It’s Friday … the last TGIF before polls close in about 100 hours. That’s 6,000 minutes; 360,000 seconds, and I’m counting them down: thousand 1, thousand 2, thousand 3, thousand 4 …

Whatchamacolumn

Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

> See his column

Campaign 2020 raised numerous questions, but delivered just one inescapable conclusion. First, the questions:

Why are Mary Starrett and Lindsay Berschauer — soon-to-rule Yamhill County government — and the political action committees they are tied to trying to influence the politics of McMinnville City Council? How deep is their connection to regional efforts — and beyond — to replace nonpartisan local government leaders with followers of today’s conservative right? What do they want?

Locally, statewide and nationally, who are the often-anonymous sources of guttersnipe personal-attack politics that are a winning prescription for too many candidates?

Will the losers in Tuesday’s presidential election join the winners in solving national problems long left languishing in partisan gridlock? Will the winners make concessions needed for bipartisan progress, or continue the behavior that led us into so much cultural and civil unrest?

How, and when, will Americans of all colors and genders and creeds recognize that the two-party system no longer works to our benefit? Who might find a path for growth of a moderate third party that can restrain the extremism and broker tripartisan solutions?

Will we be wearing masks and forgeoing personal interactions for another year?

If nothing else, here’s hoping that 2020 reminds us all how tenuous things can be. A few people can destroy years of organizational credibility; a social media stealth campaign can undercut decades of confidence in institutional integrity; a tiny, unseen virus can immobilize entire nations overnight.

There has been a seismic shift in political rhetoric over the past decade. Like frogs in slowly boiling water, we’ve become inured to all-or-nothing politics, forgetting traditions of collaboration among people of differing but non-extremist beliefs.

As to that inescapable conclusion mentioned above: Whoever wins on Tuesday, it will happen in a democracy, decided by people following the precepts of their own life experience. Pendulums swing, but so far, democracy survives.

But don’t take it for granted.

Last year, UC Irvine Professor Shawn Rosenberg delivered a sobering paper in Lisbon to the International Society of Political Psychologists. “His theory,” wrote Rick Shenkman, “Democracy is devouring itself — his phrase — and it won’t last … the number of large Western-style democracies around the globe will continue to shrink … taking democracy’s place will be right-wing populist governments that offer voters simple answers to complicated questions.”

While contemplating those intricate questions, don’t forget to vote!

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.

Comments

Don Dix

From the article --'How, and when, will Americans of all colors and genders and creeds recognize that the two-party system no longer works to our benefit?'

Great point. Jeb! The two-party system only benefits those at the top, or connections to the top. Those at the top are never responsible or to be questioned for anything, even when confronted with the facts -- yet they are immediate to judge others without impunity. No wonder they all want a position in government (in deference to an real government job -- where one actually works).

If everyone who has become tired of the partisan bickering at every turn would just drop any affiliation with any political party -- take away the support. Create a block of non-affiliated voters so large that it cannot be ignored.

Otherwise, the divide will continue to grow, mainly because those who make rules and laws that effect all are truly a bunch of whiny, lying, pampered, spoiled brats who will never just man up and get over anything!