It’s That Time Again

One week to go. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, stop reading now.
I’ve watched the last few weeks of election season the way you’d watch a train wreck, with my hands clamped over my eyes, my fingers spread wide so I can catch a peek.
I can’t look… away.
It’s one-part neuroses, I admit it. But there’s a part of me that feels empowered by election season.
In one week, I’ll have a role to play.
So too, will everyone else in this country, but somehow that doesn’t change the little bubble of pride bouncing around in my chest.
And if that makes me preachy, what the heck. You’ve only got one more week to hear it from me.
So here it is: as reporters, we simply report the news. We aren’t supposed to believe that either side is right, and we can’t join your fight.
We aren’t here to drum up votes for your candidate. We aren’t here to make the good and bad balance out.
That’s for you to do.
And when we walk out of the newspaper building, we are doing just what you are.
We’re taking the information we’ve gathered and finally getting to form opinions.
We have that right too.
We have that responsibility.
See, I told you I’d get preachy. But there’s that bouncing bubble that just won’t stop. It’s the kind that reminds me of soda fizz when it gets in your nose. You want to giggle, but you can’t – it would only get worse.
And I can’t talk politics, at least not out in the open. A town justice once told me the irony of being elected was that he could no longer be political. He had to campaign to get there, but it’s a post that requires pure impartiality.
And so his opinions stay buttoned up. He has big ears, but a small mouth.
My mouth is somewhat bigger – helped along by opinion columns like this one – but the life of a journalist is a paradox.
We shed light on injustice; we don’t stand up for it. We investigate politicians; we don’t castigate them.
We promote the right of freedom of speech; but we can just barely practice it.
And yet, at the end of the day, we wouldn’t be anywhere if we didn’t guarantee another day of it.
Our impartiality in print makes us that much more vital to the chain of the electoral process.
So, yes, we walk out of the office and head to the polls. At the end of the day, we support one side or the other.
Would you really be able to trust us any other way?

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