To the editor:

We approach Election Day on Nov. 6 with a great sense of division in

our country. Americans have grown reluctant to discuss policy and governance

out of fear of alienating or offending neighbors and friends. For some, this translates to

a sense of weariness with our national experiment of democracy, or at least

the way democracy is embodied in our political system.

Todd County holds one of the lowest voting rates in Minnesota, along with a

cluster of other rural counties. This matters not just for the high profile

national and state races, but also for how engaged people are in local

governance. Many have given up on voting because of our dysfunctional

discourse and a sense that the individual doesn't matter. Those of us

working toward political solutions need to earn their trust, not just in our

ideas but in the value of our democratic system.

On Election Day consider voting as something that we do for each other to

live in a free society, rather than a question of whether or not our single

vote shifts the balance in the final tally. Voting is both a ceremonial

recognition of our patriotism as well as a system that only works when large

majorities participate.

The coming months and years will surely present us with many more

discouraging moments of vitriol in our national dialogue, but for those with

good faith in our country let this election be a moment to adjust course

toward more civil approaches.

Consider discussions with those who differ from you as opportunities to

explain a perspective rather than to convert the person to your view, and

listen to others of good faith with your own good faith.

Vote with the passion of your convictions, but also with the joy of


Alan Perish

Browerville, MN