Gripe, gripe, gripe.
It's difficult to get in the mood for the holiday season when we're still mired in the election season. Indecision on Nov. 7 means Columbia County voters head back to the polls Dec. 5 to settle a couple of races.
Not everyone will agree on the outcome of the race for superior court judge or the race for school board chairman. But taking sides doesn't mean making enemies. When all the dust settles, making a stand or framing an argument for one candidate or another is simply a matter of opinion; in a nation such as ours, each of us is free to make that stand or argument, and everyone else is free to agree or disagree.
For the next couple of days, though, it probably wouldn't hurt to set aside the quarrels about judicial experience and education temperament and instead just talk turkey - as in Thanksgiving.
There are many reasons to give thanks in Columbia County. Let's face it; elections are important because our county is such a great place to live. No one cares who runs a slum.
So, what makes our community great? When we give thanks this week, what is it about Columbia County that merits our gratitude? Here are two things that say it all:
-- Location, location, location. As News-Times columnist and historian Barbara Seaborn points out in her work-in-progress history of Columbia County, our community settled here because this once was the farthest navigable point of the Savannah River.
Columbia County, grown - and then pruned, in 1790 - from Richmond County, began with agrarian roots that needed the river for cotton transportation to the sea. Since then, farms have been replaced with vibrant communities, and jobs are less likely to be behind a plow than inside a hospital or local manufacturing facility.
More than a few new residents to our community readily notice Columbia County's favorable proximity to the ocean, or to the mountains, or to big-city amenities; anything that isn't here, in other words, isn't far away.
-- People. Sure, we all find someone to complain about: Drivers who don't use turn signals, howling babies at restaurants, criminals who make us feel less safe. But on the positive side, Columbia County has become a teeming mix of different faces, races and cultures. Sure, assimilating everyone can be a challenge, and yes, there will be growing pains - even resentment.
But just ask anyone who attended the "Proud To Be An American" celebration this past week and saw the rainbow of children singing patriotic songs: Columbia County is a microcosm of what a "melting pot" is supposed to be. Those children are growing up in a community that values their future contribution to society, and that society will be better as a result.
Leading such a community isn't easy. Our citizens have high expectations, and can have hair-trigger intolerance for failure. Anyone seeking elected office must take those standards to heart.
The rest of us, however, should remember that whatever our faults, whatever our disagreements, we're all in this community together - and it's a great place to live because of it.
That gives us plenty of reason to be thankful.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.