Happy election day

Happy election day! It’s good to be an American and a Minnesotan on days like this. Slushy snow on the ground here in Bogus Brook Township.
I’ll be at the county board meeting this morning watching grassroots government in action. I’ve said many times that the government with the most impact on us is the one that’s closest to us — city and township councils, school boards and county boards. The rest is more of a spectator sport, it seems to me.
After the board meeting I’ll probably cast my vote, then head to some polling places to take photos and talk to voters.
This evening I’ll be back at the courthouse reporting votes for the Associated Press.
Then it will be home to watch TV coverage of the election and update the Messenger website as vote totals come in. I’ll probably be tuned into Comedy Central. The other networks seem too much like parodies of the news.
The older I get in this job, the less I care about sharing my own political views with readers. Regular readers people know them already, and I’ve found that convincing someone to change their mind is rare for a writer of my caliber.
Not being a trained journalist who has taken vows to the god of objectivity (and not really believing in it anyway), I’ve always thought it was fine for me, as a small town reporter and editor, to share my political opinions, even though it’s also my job to cover the news fairly and accurately, which I believe I’ve done.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s good to know a reporter’s leanings so you can see if they’re reflected in his or her coverage. And most of the news we cover has nothing to do with partisan politics anyway.
I have nothing against partisan journalism as long as it’s out in the open. But to be partisan and claim to be “fair and balanced” doesn’t fly, in my book.
“Balance” is another false god anyway, and too often leads journalists to lazily report “both sides” even when there’s only one credible side, or when there are many. Accuracy and fairness are better goals to strive for.
Honestly, if I’d had to keep my opinions to myself, I wouldn’t have stuck with journalism as long as I have, but the Messenger’s former owner, Dick Norlander, and his successor, Kevin Anderson, always allowed news writers to also be columnists, and believed their readers were smart enough to know the difference. It’s been fun to wear both hats, and one or the other alone would not have held my interest this long.
Anyway, I have lots to say about the various races today, from Obama/Romney to Cravaack/Nolan to Tellinghuisen/McQuay to Pierson/Charlson, but I’m gonna keep it to myself and wish you all a happy day performing your duty as Americans.
My greatest hope is that the nation gets beyond the divisiveness of the last couple decades, and that our representatives in Washington and St. Paul begin to work across party lines for practical solutions. I reflected on this in my weekly column, which you can read in the Nov. 7 Messenger.
Check back to the homepage for election updates. Add your comments to the website or send pics and letters to news@millelacsmessenger.com.

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