Pub PenThe election season is what I’m referring to. We all suffered through it. The hate. The accusations. The loss of dignity for the country and the frustrations of the American people. Believe me, no one suffered from election fatigue more than me. The TV and radio political commercials flooding the air waves and the thousands of political emails from every candidate under the sun running for every office you can imagine locally, statewide and nationally was overwhelming. It was crazy! Crazy! My thumbs are sore from toggling back and forth from MSNBC and Fox News trying to determine what was news and what information was factual, truthful and honest.  

What also made the 2016 election season excessively stressful was the amount of negativity that permeated at all levels. For many Americans, the barrage of mean and hateful rhetoric made it extremely difficult to determine who was telling the truth or who was advocating for the American people rather than for themselves. To hear these politicians tell it, everyone is a liar, everyone is a cheater and everyone is crooked and unethical. Everyone, except themselves of course. 

It has become sad and even ludicrous that our election process has deteriorated to this level. It surely creates a barrier of entry to decent, well-meaning people who would like to serve their communities and country in the political arena.  Who wants to throw their hat in the ring knowing the hate and ill will that will likely result from their desire to serve and make a difference? An honest debate and exchange of ideas over differing philosophies and beliefs is one thing. Name calling and personal attacks are quite another and something many citizens who care deeply about their communities, states and country don’t care to endure.

Well, it’s over for now, and we are moving forward. At least, I hope we are. I care most about this community and what kind of leadership Fayetteville and Cumberland County can expect in the crucial years ahead. Our local trends in education, population growth, retention, business and economic development and cultural enrichment programs are drastically lagging behind other North Carolina counties. Why? Leadership. Or, more specifically, lack of leadership.  Locally, we desperately need political leaders who can address problems, identify needs, generate ideas and create excitement - the kind of excitement that comes from aggressive imaginative thinking, “getting the job done”, and then celebrating the accomplishment. The few aggressive leaders we do have get bogged down with minutiae caused by those whose only talent was knowing how to get elected. These placeholders seldom have ideas or solutions, and when they do they have no feasible plan to move that idea forward.

The good news is that all may be changing in our community very soon. There is a movement afoot led by responsible and concerned local residents to bring important issues and quality-of-life venues to the forefront and to get them in front of our local government officials in the hope they, too, will see the vision of what our community needs and deserves, thus creating a vision of what Fayetteville/Cumberland County could be and should be. 

We deserve it. Thank you for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

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