Thanks for another season of change

Nov. 09, 2013 @ 03:47 PM

“Change is good” is a cliché, said most often as reassurance when something unexpected or unsettling has happened.

We can’t possibly know in advance whether all of the new faces brought to local government boards in Caldwell County by last week’s municipal elections will prove to be good additions.

But in general, a little change in the composition of elected boards is good. New people bring new perspectives. A little fresh air can keep the atmosphere from feeling musty.

Having to get to know new colleagues and how they think can challenge the veterans on a board to see issues in a new light.

We particularly will welcome the opportunity to finally use the phrase “first female mayor” in Hudson, where Janet Winkler ran unopposed.

And Lenoir, which has the region’s most diverse population, regains a measure of diversity on its town council, which at the moment consists only of white men, with the election of two African-Americans, Crissy Thomas and Ike Perkins.

None of this is to say that those who will be leaving office did a poor job or deserved to lose. Sometimes, whether in local elections or on larger stages, losing has little correlation to performance. We heard no major complaints during the election about Lenoir’s Merlin Perry, Granite Falls’ Frank Mackie or Sawmills’ Donnie Potter, and it may well be that many voters who did not choose them would not be able to cite a negative reason for their choice.

Elections at any level can seem to a candidate or a passionate partisan like fickle, vexing creatures – just ask any candidate who came within a couple of percentage points of winning.

Losing an election also is not the end of the world. Just ask Al Gore. He didn’t become president, but he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

This also is not to say that a breath of fresh air always proves to be pleasant. Sometimes a garbage truck goes by just as you’re taking that deep breath. Every voter hopes that his or her choices will not prompt a case of buyer’s remorse, but statistically it’s inevitable that some eventually will.

Freedom of choice means the risk of making mistakes.

But the process is at least as important as the decisions that ultimately result. Voters get to choose, see the result of that choice, then choose again later.

Win or lose, every candidate deserves appreciation for stepping forward and expressing ideas and offering voters those choices. Every incumbent deserves thanks for having sacrificed time and privacy to working on public business.

We are grateful for all of them.