By HDN staff
For the first time in a long time every ward in Havre has a Republican and Democratic candidate vying for a seat on the Havre City Council.
We think its refreshing to finally see what appears to have been a long dormant community spirit rise to the challenge of meeting the needs of Havres citizenry. The willingness of all of the candidates to make the necessary commitment of time and energy is commendable.
But we also recognize the contest generally has not always been friendly or respectful.
Pranksterism, if thats the right word for it, has always been a part of political campaigning, but the level and degree of pranksterism seems to have reached a new high in low during this campaign.
We view campaigning as a means by which politicians can inform the public of differing political views about issues that affect the public interest a necessary element in any democratic system. We do not view campaigns as an opportunity to lie, vandalize, or sling mud, at the opposition regardless of what some consider an American tradition.
These are just a few of the things in this campaign that we feel erased the boundary between honest campaigning and unethical behavior:
- Slashed tires on the Republican campaign vehicle;
- Campaign signs ripped up, destroyed, or damaged;
- Wet cement being thrown on a car;
- Ads placed in the Havre Daily News strongly suggesting the opposing political party was responsible for vandalism;
- Letters of support being sent to the Havre Daily News written by the candidate and signed by someone else.
There are other examples, but these are enough to illustrate the point.
Much of what we heard about this campaign was not about issues, it was about finger pointing and who did what to whom. Or for that matter, who did what to themselves so they could blame it on the other party.
While we can honestly say we are thrilled that so many candidates stepped forward and offered to serve, we are disillusioned with the childish behavior of some involved in the political process.
The citizens of Havre deserve better. We need to know the process is working for us. We need to know how the candidates feel and what position they will take on issues.
Juvenile pranks only detract from the overall mission of the campaign and turn the entire process into a backyard sandbox where the children squabble and nothing positive is accomplished.
Havre deserves better.