A quick Google search of the word opposition turns up the terms “resistance” and “dissent” as “expressed in argument.” The problem with partisan politics means we view everyone who doesn’t fit our bubble as “opposition.”
This political campaign will be different.
Yesterday’s Carlisle Chamber of Commerce Candidates’ Forum was when I first met Kelly Neiderer, my Republican “opponent.” As all 843 candidates* arrived and displayed literature and materials, I made it my priority to locate Mrs. Neiderer and introduce myself. Why? Because even if we come from different parties, perspectives, and policies about how the position we seek can best serve the public, I will operate myself and this campaign with respect for her candidacy.
When Mrs. Neiderer drew the short straw as first of all candidates to present, she was thoughtful as she discussed her experience in the financial world and her community service. I was impressed with her as a candidate. When it was my chance to speak, I said I was happy to be in the race with her, and afterward we wished one another well. I’m proud to say we both put the “civil” in “civil discourse.”
You see, I don’t want to beat her.
Think about that sentence for a second. We’ve allowed politics to descend into an analogy for war. We “fight” and “battle” and enter into “conflict” with “the other side” just to “torch” “them.” We stand in opposition of politicians and policies instead of standing for principles, integrity, and authenticity. It’s not just on my business card – it’s who I am.
As Americans, we’ve succumbed to indecency. “Lock her up” is now “Lock him up.” And that’s not just reserved for a Presidential race.
As the Cumberland County Treasurer race closes on November 5th, fingers and words may be pointed in my direction. One will possibly be asked, “How can we trust a tax-and-spend, liberal, commy, union TEACHER (emphasized as a slanderous word) who has no business in this race?”
I’m not running against Mrs. Neiderer.
I’m running because I love Cumberland County. I’m running because I value this place we call home, from Camp Hill to Carlisle and Shiremanstown to Shippensburg. I want Cumberland County to be this great – or better – when my 1- and 3-year-old sons inherit it as their homes for their families. But there are plenty of challenges to be handled between now and then. We have a budget that is pulling $9 million from our fund balance. We have some major capital expenses, such as 6 bridges, 911 operating equipment, and voting machines. And as our county – the fastest growing in the Commonwealth – continues to add to the population, we need to serve our citizens with the sense of duty and efficiency they deserve.
Whomever is County Treasurer, whether it’s Mrs. Neiderer or myself, needs to operate with integrity. You can bet your bottom dollar you’ll get that from me in this race.
My name is Jake Miller, and I’m seeking your vote on May 21st and November 5th.
*There were not actually 843 candidates in the room, but sometimes it feels like there is.