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Our View: It’s up to us

The Union Editorial Board

The parade will start, of course, with the town crier.

But George Washington won’t be that far behind.

The Marching Presidents — with any luck, all 46 of them — are set to stroll down Broad Street in Nevada City at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18. George is a big name, as is Abraham, Theodore and John — Adams, Quincy Adams, Tyler and Fitzgerald Kennedy.

The Famous Marching Presidents of Nevada City, and their spouses, are part of our community’s Constitution Day celebrations, but it’s not the only part. There’s an open air concert on North Pine Street, and the 49er Rotary Duck Race on Boulder Street.

That’s nothing to quack at.

In times like these, with political divisions wracking our body politic, events like Constitution Day in Nevada City shine a light on what people can do right when they come together.

We honor those who died on 9/11, the anniversary of which just passed, and remember what we as a nation went through on that day 21 years ago.

The observance of Constitution Day, while a world apart from the horror of 9/11, also has the power to unify us as Americans.

Once again, another divisive election is under two months away. Nevada County will be in a new congressional district next year, with a completely new person representing us in Congress.

Political forums are an invaluable tool to educate us on the candidates. Unfortunately, some candidates have chosen against attending forums hosted by the League of Women Voters of Nevada County, leading to their cancellation.

There’s only one candidate forum planned by the league — for District 3 Board of Supervisors at 6 p.m. Monday at the Eric Rood Administrative Center, 950 Maidu Ave., Nevada City. A forum on the two local measures is tentatively set for next month.

The league isn’t the only game in town when it comes to forums, but it is one of the best and prides itself on its nonpartisanship, as well as starting and ending on time.

But it won’t hold a forum if only one candidate in a race appears, and we’ve got plenty of contests that fall in that category.

Some of these candidates have districts that span several counties. Our state Assembly district touches Oregon, and the new 3rd Congressional District extends to Inyo County. This isn’t a quick drive to the Rood Center for a 90-minute discussion.

But neither is it something a candidate for public office should casually discard.

The league intended to hold forums for several races. However, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley declined to attend the 3rd Congressional District race. Dr. Kermit Jones accepted.

For the 1st Assembly District, Assemblywoman Megan Dahle declined. Belle Sandwith accepted.

The league received no response from Nevada Joint Union High School District Trustee Area 1 candidate Jenny Scicluna. Area 1 candidate Olivia Pritchett accepted.

Area 2 candidate Wendy Willoughby accepted. Stephanie Leishman declined.

Area 5 candidates Jay Adamson and Ken Johnson both accepted. However, travel plans interfered with scheduling a forum.

A forum for Grass Valley City Council, which has two open seats, was canceled due to safety concerns. The candidates are Haven Carravelli, Matthew Coulter and Hilary Hodge.

If these candidates want your vote, they should make a point of attending a local forum. Candidate forums, much like a celebration of Constitution Day, are about as American as you can get.

Both events, these forums and our Nevada City Constitution Day celebration, highlight the best of us. We can hold opposing views and maintain civil discourse about the issues of the day. We can learn about our history, the candidates from the past as well as those from the present, and make informed decisions about who should compose our government.

The Famous Marching Presidents — the silly and the serious — are a reflection of us. They give us not only something to laugh about, but also learn about. We need to know about the good and the bad, both in our former leaders, our current ones and the ones who want to lead.

Sunday’s parade will include George Washington, as well as our current president, but it’s up to us to determine where it goes from there.

The weekly Our View editorial represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com

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