EDITORIAL: No more political silos

Posted 1/24/17

If the U.S presidential election had been held in Jefferson County only, Democrat Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton would most likely be in office today, not Donald Trump.

Less than a year ago, a …

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EDITORIAL: No more political silos

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If the U.S presidential election had been held in Jefferson County only, Democrat Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton would most likely be in office today, not Donald Trump.

Less than a year ago, a record 3,778 Jefferson County Democrats caucused and concluded that Sanders, not Clinton, was their preferred nominee to be president.

Jefferson County Republicans, meanwhile, had a turnout of 142 people for their Feb. 20 caucus, and while they couldn’t share the results at the time, it was clear later on in the year that Trump was their man.

On Nov. 8, 20,276 registered voters cast ballots in Jefferson County. Democrat Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine, received 12,656 votes. Trump and running mate Michael R. Pence received 6,037 votes. There also were some 1,600 votes cast for other candidates.

Those are the boring, cold, hard and totally indisputable facts of the election numbers in Jefferson County.

Then, there are the feelings. Emotions have been pouring out in letters to the editor, in Facebook posts between friends and now on the streets of Port Townsend.

Last Friday, the day that Trump took office, roughly 180 people took to the streets in downtown Port Townsend to hold hands for a “Hold the Line” protest.

And the following day, in conjunction with protests around the world, hundreds of people from across the Olympic Peninsula came to a women’s march in Port Townsend to express their concern about Trump’s tweets and their takes on women’s issues, health care, immigration, climate change and human rights in general. There were so many people attending the march, it was hard to count their numbers. One estimate was that almost 1,000 people attended the PT protest.

Congressman Derek Kilmer and others urged everyone to stay actively engaged in the political reality show that is about to unfold in Washington, D.C.

Clearly, Jefferson County is a safe haven for progressives, a bright blue spot in a country whose seat of power is now celebrating red.

Jefferson County is home to many activists, and there’s no doubt that we’ll see more protests in the coming months.

The potential for neighborly conflict is there. So is the potential for good conversations.

And if there is anywhere in the country where those good conversations ought to be able to occur, it’s Jefferson County.

Perhaps we can’t agree on how education should be funded, but we can agree that education matters and that kids need our support. Perhaps we can’t agree on government regulations, but we can agree that we want local businesses to succeed.

It’s time to put windows in those political silos, stay active and remember that our community values of supporting one another are colorless.

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