My View: We must be engaged this political season | SierraSun.com

My View: We must be engaged this political season

This is shaping up to be a crazy year in the world of politics. With many important elections, ballot initiatives and referendums on the docket this year, we will all be feeling a bit burned out by the time November comes around.

From the presidential race to our local issues this will be an important election season.

No matter what you think, no matter what you believe, it is vital to our system that we all share our opinions and ideas. The beauty of our republic is that our voices really do matter, even if at times we might feel we are shouting to the wind. One of the keys to having a great nation, a great state and a great community is to make sure that you are educated on the issues and we all can share our voices.

At the most recent Good Morning Truckee, in early April, the focus was on marijuana and the looming potential for legalized recreational weed. Both California and Nevada are anticipating referendums on the issue and we will likely see the issues continue to be talked about at many levels.

We have opinions and ideas from across the spectrum. From those who can’t wait until they can legally partake to those who are a bit more cautious about what this could mean for our home.

Regardless of your opinion, the key is to get as much participation in the discussion as possible. These are not simple issues. There is no clear right or wrong and we need the public’s voice to be heard. Recreational marijuana is just one of many issues that we need to discuss and one of many that truly deserve your attention.

Many people feel that if they attend an event about an issue, they are showing support for that issue — that is not true. An event is just an event. Unless you are wearing a T-shirt that identifies you as a supporter, you could have any number of different opinions and beliefs.

We must be educated. We must be able to think about what our actions and choices could do to our home. Many people feel that the system we live in doesn’t work for them or that it is broken. That is part of the appeal in candidates like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, who both play to the idea that we are, at some level, broken.

I completely disagree. I think that in many cases we as a people are so scared to talk, so intimidated to engage in discussion about important issues, because god forbid we say something that someone disagrees with or someone might be offended.

That is a key part of the election process. Speak your mind. Let your opinion be heard. Just be ready to support your opinion with facts and be open to a civil discussion with someone who disagrees with you.

Newspapers are here to serve as a place for your opinions to be heard. Share them with us. We are only as diverse as the people who share their ideas with us. If you want to share your thoughts on an issue, send us a letter. If you want to discuss the issues or if you have an idea that you think we should cover, send it to us. If we are the voice of a community then we are your voice. Let it be heard, use us to learn about the facts.

We can’t take the approach of an ostrich putting its head in the sand and hoping that everything works out just fine. We must be engaged. It is vital to all of us, the more we can engage the more we can grow our community for the best.

Ben Rogers is the co-general manager and advertising director of the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza. He can be reached directly at brogers@sierrasun.com.