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Friday, December 1, 2023
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Sportsmanship and politics

By Jeremy D. Wells

Carter County Times

One of the most important things our coaches help teach our kids is the value of sportsmanship; of playing a clean game and showing respect for your opponent.

It’s a lesson that a goodly portion of our political class could benefit from, especially at the national level.

Perhaps it’s one they could learn by looking closer at local races, like those in Carter County. While local races aren’t always without their share of partisan vitriol or that other spectre of modern politics, court challenges (just look at Doucet v Miller in the Grayson mayoral race), for the most part the local candidate Q&As hosted by the Olive Hill Chamber and GO Radio were peaceful, respectful, and productive. Candidates acknowledged their opponents’ good ideas, and in cases where they differed they never accused their opponents of wanting to drag down, destroy, or otherwise degrade the communities we all share.

There was no doubt that, no matter how they thought we could or should achieve it, all of our candidates have the good of our communities at heart. The only difference, in most cases, was how to achieve it.

This used to be a benchmark for debate on the national stage as well. You might viciously attack policy or economic theory, but you didn’t accuse your opponent of being evil, or out to destroy the country or state you both love. Even if you attacked character, or motivations, there were limits on the level of rhetoric.

As John McCain once famously said during his race against Barrack Obama, he didn’t think he was evil, or bad, or wanted to hurt the country. They just had different ideas about how to improve it.

It’s too bad more men and women like John aren’t around to coach our current crop of legislators. But if they won’t set the example at the federal level, maybe we can keep doing it here at home.

Thank you to everyone who chose to run this election season, and for your dedication to improving our community. Even if we won’t always agree on details, we appreciate you.

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com



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