Pat a candidate on the back

For What it's Worth - Opinion by Tracy Hughes for Wednesday, November 23

The election is over and I want to extend my personal congratulations to all the candidates who chose to put their names out to serve our community.

Participating in an election is a challenging, and often humbling exercise. It requires people to give it their best shot and then relinquish control to the voters — all they can do is wait and hope.

When the numbers come in, you can feel the sting for those well-intentioned candidates who didn’t make the cut. A person can try to guard their ego, but let’s face it, rejection hurts — whether it’s by three votes or 3,000.

The important thing for the community to remember is the people who ran for city council are still our community leaders. These are the people who had enough concern for our city to risk that oh-so-public rejection. We should be aware of who they are and rely on them to fulfil many other important roles in our city.

Personally, I want to give special recognition to 18-year-old Skylar Plourde. It was tough to watch him sit in the community centre and see his face fall as the numbers were called out. It soon became evident that Salmon Arm voters didn’t embrace his message as he had hoped.

He could have simply slunk away to lick his wounds, but that isn’t this young man’s style.

When I approached, Skylar shook my hand firmly, looked me right in the eyes and told me he’d be back.

“I’m not done with politics yet,” he said.

I sure hope not, Skylar. I’m a believer in second chances and yours will come.

As for the rest of Salmon Arm, if you see a candidate out and around town — regardless of whether you agreed with their politics or not — why not go up and shake their hand?

It takes guts to run for public office and a little recognition of that could go a long way to a better, more open community.

Coming out of this election campaign, I couldn’t be more delighted to report a change about to take place at the Observer. No longer will visitors to our website be allowed to post comments anonymously. I have been critical of this policy, as I am a firm believer that people should stand behind what they say. My opinions come with my name attached and, in my view, so should yours. Too many people use anonymity to post rude, outrageous, slanderous or nasty comments — things most of us would not want our mothers to know we said.

Attempting to moderate this anonymous discourse has been an unbelievably challenging exercise in trying to balance our support of free speech with the need to be respectful and follow laws protecting a person’s reputation. I believe the use of Facebook, which requires people to post under their true identities will remove some of the nastiness and allow intelligent communication on matters of public interest.

Please see more details about the new policy on the following page and, as always, we appreciate feedback from you.


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