Our family scattered in different directions over MEA weekend. Our son went to Washington, D.C. with the eighth–grade trip that had been postponed in the spring. My wife and daughter headed to New York City for a senior year girls’ weekend. I headed north with long-time friends for an annual fall fishing trip on Lake Vermilion. The walleyes were nearly jumping in the boat, but the Muskies were nowhere to be seen. We also did a grouse hunt and some trap shooting, and evenings were filled with lively conversation, fish frys and camp fires.

 We all converged back at home on Sunday afternoon and discussed over dinner the highlights of everyone’s weekend. Kellen was with a 100 high school kids on a whirlwind three days of touring all of the major historical sites, museums and monuments in and around the nation’s Capitol. It was Kellen’s first trip without parents and he stayed in a hotel room with three buddies. He said highlights were seeing Mount Vernon and standing with Secret Service agents on a bridge as they watched the President take off in the Marine One helicopter. He also reported extensively about the various establishments they went to for lunch and dinner. It seemed the trip was as much fun as it was educational.

 Amy and Abbey came home exhausted from miles of walking around NYC. They explored the neighborhoods of SoHo, Greenwich Village, and Chelsea on foot, walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, and found a few famous bakeries to try. Abbey had researched a brand-new attraction that had just opened that weekend, Summit One Vanderbilt. It is an observation deck with three floors constructed of glass and mirrors near the top of a 1,401 foot tall building. They said the attraction and the views were spectacular.  

They also toured the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. We had visited the memorial years ago, but at that time only the outdoor area had been completed. They spent a couple of hours going through it and said they could have spent more time. I have heard about the memorial’s impact on visitors, and they agreed it was emotional and very well done. She commented that it brought back memories of how after the attack, our nation came together. Following that tragedy 20 years ago, people generally set aside their differences and we were united in supporting our country, our elected leaders and each other – a stark contrast compared to the division we see among Americans today.  

 We need to come together like that again. The pandemic certainly didn’t bring us together-it added more divisive issues. Right now, we see the extreme partisanship and vitriol in our local elections for city council and school board. All sides are responsible. There are definitely important issues to be discussed and decided, but most of us seem to refuse to listen to anyone who has a differing opinion from our own.  This is bad for democracy even on a local level. Our elected officials should represent a variety of views and ideologies and be able to come together to make the best decisions in the best interest of all residents.

I hope you will go to the polls and vote. More than ever, our communities need you to help choose the next school board members, city council members, and mayors who will lead our communities. Take time to read our candidate profiles with an open mind to learn about them and make an informed decision about who you believe will be the best to carry our cities and schools forward. If you’re not quite sure who to vote for, consider reaching out to candidates by phone or e-mail and spending some time to talk through key issues. It is unlikely you’re going to agree 100% with every candidate, but you need to choose those you think will make the right decisions – even if parts of their stance are out of your comfort zone. Your vote counts, so get out to vote and encourage your family, friends and neighbors to do the same. We need to work together to move forward in a positive direction. Find our detailed Voter’s Guide at presspubs.com.

 

Carter Johnson is publisher of Press Publications.

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