Ventura County Star this morning, I was fortunate to notice, and read, on the Opinion page, Timm Herdt’s column entitled “A case study in how civil democracy can work”.
In the column Timm reports on the principles and behaviors of Republican, Jeff Gorell and Democrat, Ferial Masry as they vied for the 37th Assembly District seat in Ventura County in the months before the November 5, 2010 election. What a pleasure it was to read about the candidates’ mutual respect for one another, and their choice to not use negative campaigning. I savored reading each incident, conversation, and quote involving one or both of the candidates, that made the case that right here in Ventura County we had just seen a clear example of “civil democracy”.
Timm closed the column by saying, “They ran against each other. One got more votes. Both won.” What Timm knows, but didn’t say, is that we ALL won.
I had read the column first to myself, and then out loud to my wife. As I neared the end of the second read, my throat choked ever so slightly and my eyes began to water. My emotions about this come from my sense and belief that we desperately need to work together, and with respect. Our needs, as a society, are so great, and I don’t believe that we can be successful at caring for ourselves and our environment while simultaneously fighting one another.
Gorell and Masry have done us a great service. They have modeled the behavior that most of us want to see from our candidates and elected officials; and we have seen that it’s possible. But without a dedicated journalist like Timm Herdt, the good news of the 37th Assembly District would be missed by many. In a time in which bad news and sensational news are both omnipresent and sell, Timm offers us the opposite and uses his journalism to shine a light on an example of what COULD be in America.
This is the kind of media we need.