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Publisher's column: Election workers are the foundation of democracy

So just what makes our elections so special? I credit all of those who are involved in the elections, from the volunteers at the local precinct to the election officials on up to every level of government.

Devlyn Brooks.png
Devlyn Brooks is the new publisher for the Wadena Pioneer Journal, Perham Focus and Detroit Lakes Tribune.
Vicki Gerdes / Forum News Service
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In an episode of my favorite news TV drama “The Newsroom,” which focuses on elections and is titled “The 112th Congress,” the lead character, Will Mcavoy, who is a television news anchor, says to his team over drinks: "Every two years we drive to a fire station and overthrow the government, and there isn’t a policeman in the street."

It is late in the night, and Mcavoy is sitting at the newsroom’s favorite after work hangout, just having finished covering the election of the 112th Congress. His team is assembled around him, celebrating the night. They are raising a toast to a job well done, as well as to the miracle that U.S. national elections are. The scene gives me goosebumps every time I watch it.

This was the feeling I had hanging out with our newsroom team during Election Night last week. I was proud of the work they had done in the lead up to the election, and it appeared that all was calm with the elections all throughout the nation.

Despite all of the apprehension that many of us felt in the lead up to the election, we as a country had done the impossible again: We drove to the fire station and overthrew the government, so to speak, without a single bit of violence.

We have lived through a lot of political rancor in recent times. But I believe that our electoral system is special, and we’d do well to protect it. As we’ve seen with other national elections in other countries, a peaceful transition of government should never be taken for granted.

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So just what makes our elections so special?

I credit all of those who are involved in the elections, from the volunteers at the local precinct to the election officials on up to every level of government. Your work is the very foundation of our democracy, and we don’t thank you enough. So, I’d like to take this opportunity to extend my hand, and thank each and every one of you for your work. You have faced unrelenting scrutiny and pressure for the past two years, and unfairly so.

I am thrilled that our elections went down the way they did, so that we can move on from the undeserved questioning of our electoral integrity we’ve lived through. Now, we can move on to the more important priorities of governing, which is ultimately what we elected our leaders to do.

Secure and fair elections shouldn’t be a partisan issue. It's the same system that we’ve all relied on generation after generation, through ebbs and flows of one political party to another. But what previously was constant was that once an election was settled, it was settled, regardless of the outcome. That shouldn’t change ever.

Devlyn Brooks is the publisher of the Detroit Lakes Tribune, Perham Focus and Wadena Pioneer Journal, and their associated websites. He can be reached at dbrooks@dlnewspapers.com or at 218-844-1451.

Related Topics: COMMENTARY
Devlyn Brooks is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and serves Faith Lutheran Church in Wolverton, Minn. He also works for Forum Communications Co. He can be reached at devlyn.brooks@forumcomm.com for comments and story ideas.
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