The political atmosphere in 2016 could not be more polarizing on the national level.
If Democrats see the sky as blue, Republicans will say it’s red. There is no grey area when it comes to any topic. Seldom, if ever, does there ever appear to be an opportunity to compromise.
That’s the national scene.
As the local town boards convene in preparation of the new year, we’re seeing more civility than from those taking the national spotlight. And, we all need that.
In Bethlehem, we see a full house of Democrats on the town board. All, except for the one vacancy recently filled. The board received more than a dozen applications, and in the end, selected someone who is not within their own party.
Doris Davis is a name Bethlehem residents should remember. She served several years as a town councilwoman in the ’90s, then as a Republican. Today, she doesn’t identify under either major party. Instead, she felt compelled to throw her hat into the ring to do nothing but serve her community. And, the town responded.
Colonie has sworn in two new councilmen to its town board. Two faces the community should find familiar despite this being their first terms on the board.
Christopher Carey has spent the best of four decades on the police force, and volunteering with emergency services. Jennifer Whalen, who cut her teeth with the State Attorney General’s office and has campaigned in past elections, fulfills her dream job of serving her town.
Talking with local community leaders, from the three mentioned above, to town supervisors John Clarkson and Paula Mahan, there is a passion conveyed with their audience: a desire to serve the public. Party lines don’t appear in discussion just yet, unless prompted by the probing questions of a reporter. Even still, they all express interest in working together in the spirit of doing what is best for the community.
It shouldn’t sound so surprising. And, perhaps it is, only on account of the fact that we haven’t seen so much of this adult behavior from those running for president.
Maybe it’s all lip service, and we should all remain cautious as to what lies ahead. With this being a new year, and the proverbial slate wiped clean, we’re giving our town councilmen the benefit of the doubt.
We see exciting things ahead for 2016. The talking points that filled October debates will now come before them. We plan on holding them all to their word, and remind them of the refreshingly civil behavior they exhibited this January.