For many months, August 2nd, primary election day, has been a frustratingly distant goal. All the day-to-day effort of running a campaign and speculating on the outcome has been focused on that moment when the results are posted and we finally know all the answers. And it seems like it will never arrive.
And then, of course, it does arrive—but without all the answers. Or with answers that seem to conflict with each other. I've spent the past couple days thinking about what happened, getting theories and perspectives from friends, looking for a key to explaining it all. Here's what I've come up with.
First of all, from the big picture vantage point, the Sedona municipal election results were a resounding success. At the top of the list is the fact that the voters supported Home Rule once again by a resounding, "no-doubt" margin. Despite the most organized and aggressive attempt yet by its opponents, Home Rule got nearly two Yes votes for every No vote. That is reassuring in itself, but it's also a bellwether of the public's feeling about the status quo.
That is, regardless of how angry or frustrated the electorate is about traffic, housing, OHVs, or any other issue, they recognize that artificially crippling or punishing themselves is no part of the solution. The consistency with which Sedona voters have overwhelmingly supported Home Rule every four years for decades continues to reaffirm that as a community we are willing and able to seek out and recognize the truth. That is huge. In fact, if there is any good reason for having to go through this confirmation exercise every four years, that may be it.
So what does that mean for interpreting the results of the mayor and council elections? I believe it makes it very difficult to mount any argument that the winners were undeserving or that the losers were somehow wronged. Sure, the reasons we vote for one candidate over another are very different from the reasons we support or reject Home Rule. But it's pretty clear that in both cases the majority was not likely duped, pressured, or otherwise victimized by some nefarious forces. Or if they were, they were capable of seeing through those efforts and voting their own, carefully considered preferences.
Given that, I suppose my own election loss could be all the more disappointing, realizing that there was no unfairness to blame for placing fourth in a three-seat contest. And I confess I've had my moments of rationalizing. But they've been brief and have not changed my belief that the choices of Sedona's voters as a whole can be trusted as an accurate communal voice of what is best for our city. That's a great comfort to me, as I hope it is for you and all residents of Sedona. And that makes it all the easier, not harder, to accept that voice.
Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash