Being a politician is a thankless job.
If you have been following the tragic story of Jo Cox, the member of parliament from Britain, it is also a dangerous job.
No matter what the decision is, there are enemies made.
Politics have become increasing more and more violent in the last few years.
Personal attacks, both physical and verbal, take the place of reasonable debate.
Even in Ottawa, there has been a focus on trying to bring a sense of decorum back to question period in the House of Commons.
Locally, let’s take the school closure decisions.
These kinds of decisions are bound to bring with it, debate. For good reason.
Our schools are important to us and to our sense of community.
In the back and forth between the province and the school district, there has been a lot of bad blood.
I’ve read several very personal attacks on our school district trustee’s, MLA Dan Ashton and even our city council.
The rationale behind the decisions should be debated and discussed.
Differing points of view should be considered.
That is why we live in a democracy.
When that debate turns into personal attacks or even verbal assault, it’s wrong.
The wounds of this debate will take a long time to heal and I’m sure there are a couple of school trustees who rue the day they put their name forward.
That is also wrong.
Every year, it gets harder and harder to get good, qualified candidates to put their name on a ballot.
There isn’t any money to be made in municipal politics, despite what the coffee shop klatch tell you.
When you add up the time investment, I’m sure it works out to well below minimum wage.
Sure, there is a certain prestige that goes with the title School Trustee or City Councillor.
There is also the responsibility, being interrupted shopping for groceries, having your phone go off at all hours of the day and night.
I highly doubt that anyone sitting around a council or school district meeting is there for personal gain.
Aside from large decisions, like budgets, most of those agendas would put an insomniac to sleep.
There are lots of other, less boring ways, to sort out personal gain.
I know quite a few politicians and I can tell you that they all do what they do, for the greater good of the community.
They take their job seriously and personally.
They expect a certain level of criticism and are generally ok with it.
When that criticism crosses the line, it affects them.
They all have families that get caught in the collateral damage.
I encourage those with passionate opinions to take the high road.
Keep your passion directed towards the issue at hand and not at the person or persons involved.
Set a positive example for your kids on the right way to operate in a democracy.
Rob Murphy is the sales manager at the Summerland Review.