Home Community News Deep Breath: by: Stephanie Brinkerhoff-Riley

Deep Breath: by: Stephanie Brinkerhoff-Riley


3rd Ward City Councilwoman Stephanie Brinkerhoff-Riley

Deep Breath

Today I had to take a deep breath. A friend of mine told me that he was changing his mind and withdrawing his support from a candidate that I favor. I found his reasoning to be faulty and was furious. I was about to tell him just what I thought about him, and then it hit me.

Each race is like two armies that have engaged one another with weapons firing. As we blow each other to bits, much blood is being drawn. We’ve called each other everything from liars to lunatics. The other side’s followers are nothing more than idiots who are out of touch with reality. Yet on Wednesday, they make the long journey back to being our family, friends, co-workers and neighbors. There’s a giant fool in my life that after Tuesday goes back to being more commonly known as my father.

If only it were so easy as to clearly label one side as wrong. There are reasons why each of us supports certain candidates, and many of those reasons are based on personal experiences. What we live largely dictates our belief system. From there, we pick candidates that are most comparable to those beliefs. To say that someone is wrong in their choice is to render that person’s life experience meaningless.

Our lives are so varied, and the chasm between sides so great, that the big challenge of our time is to find middle ground. The ability to truly see and understand someone else’s perspective is a requirement for compromise. After all, I’m not changing my beliefs anytime soon, and I doubt that those who are in opposition are either. Ultimately, the focus on winning, while necessary in an election, is misplaced. How many times have you won an argument only to lose the relationship?

Someone will win each race on Tuesday, but the true test is how the winners treat the losers afterwards. Hopefully, the winners will take a deep breath like I did and focus on bridging the gap. Our community and country depends on it.


  1. This is a healthy perspective that we should, and I think must, all embrace to heal our country and the world in which we live. It is personal, local, and should be taken statewide, national, and international. Let’s get off our own agenda and work together for the betterment and health of the earth on which we all depend.

  2. Bridging the gap in understanding and respect. I could not agree more.
    Whatever the outcome on Tuesday, Vanderburgh County residents (city and rural) will need more than ever to come together for the best interests of our community.
    If the Yes crowd prevails then it will be absolutely vital that all citizens provide continual oversite to the transition board to assist them in doing the best possible job of being transparent, listening to their constituencies, and living up to the countless promises of the ‘plan’.
    If the No to consolidation group succeeds in preventing the “plan” from becoming our new government, they will have their hands full in ‘encouraging’ that very transparency, frugality, and honest scrutiny necessary to bring the existing form of government into it’s full potential. Both are enormous challenges that will require the hardest work of all- Ongoing, honest, diligent citizens sharing information and most of all PAYING ATTENTION.

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