Get involved in politics without taking a side

You don’t have to take a side in this time of awakening in American politics, when the people are realizing the importance of participating in the electoral process. There is plenty of room off the partisan spectrum, especially here in the Copper Country.

Democracy demands participation of the people. There is a place where people who are looking to contribute to democracy without taking a partisan side can go, and that place is the League of Women Voters.

The league began operating at the grass roots of American politics in 1920, six months before women got the right to vote, before the term “grass-roots politics” was even conceived. Although born from the women’s suffrage movement, membership is open to men and women of all ages — read: everyone.

That means everyone of any political bent, because the league does not support or oppose any political party or candidate. In addition to many other functions required in a democracy, the league does take positions on public issues and policies, but — and this is worth repeating — it does not take stances on candidates running for office, because one of its primary objectives is to encourage people to run for public office.

Article II, sec. 2 of the Copper Country chapter’s bylaws states the league “shall not support or oppose any political party or any candidate.”

One might think this neutrality would draw members from all parts of the political spectrum, but given the current divisiveness of American politics, one would be wrong. As the ongoing persecution of the media is demonstrating, standing on neutral ground makes one a target for attacks from the left and right.

“The recent surge in grass-roots political interest has not translated into new energy for our league,” writes Barry Fink, secretary for the Copper Country League of Women Voters, in its latest newsletter, which publishes eight editions a year for members.

Yes, there is a political awakening happening on both ends of the political specturm, but so far this movement is shaping up more like a growing conflict than an honest and civil discourse of ideas.

In the interest of improving the American democracy, we support the league — which is open to men and women of all ages — in its mission to build up this nation with positive elections rather than tearing it down through partisan warfare. We urge girls, women, men and boys to join the league as it influences public policy through education and advocacy by going online at lwvccmi.org or calling 906-483-2291.

A Daily Mining Gazette editorial

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