I enjoyed the juxtaposition of two recent letters regarding the candidacy of Rick Hannold (Whidbey News-Times, June 15) for his old spot on the Island County Board of Commissioners. First came Vicki Robin, commenting at length on Hannold’s attitude toward climate change mitigation when he last held the office he’s hoping to occupy again. “Climate change is not our responsibility,” he said then. Maybe not, and maybe his thoughts have changed since then, but Robin did a good job running down the kinds of things a county commissioner can and should pay attention to. It could hardly be a more serious matter, even here on our remote island.
The next letter was from Peggy Shekem, and her focus is on what she sees as the delicious irony that Hannold was criticized for saying that what the Board of Commissioners needs is a man. Shekem points out two instances in recent national politics when women have pushed for more representation, including on the U.S. Supreme Court, (where 101 men had served before any woman was named) and in the office of the vice president, where 48 men served before Kamala Harris took her oath last year. Maybe it’s not quite time to declare balance achieved.
What I found most interesting about these letters was the way they combined to highlight our current moment in political life. We have serious problems that aren’t going to solve themselves; we also can’t resist the dark fun of the culture wars, where every stray comment is fodder for another attack. Hopefully we can sharpen our focus and elect people who want to do the work.