NEWS-SENTINEL EDITORIAL: You can’t represent all of the people all of the time

A Fort Wayne reader wrote a letter to the editor published in The Journal Gazette recently in which she expressed her appreciation that News-Sentinel opinion is included in that newspaper.

Since The News-Sentinel ceased publication of a daily print edition in October, it has moved its daily operation to its website, News-Sentinel.com, while producing at least one print page, sometimes two, that are included in The Journal Gazette Monday through Saturday.

The letter writer said she appreciated the opportunity for Journal Gazette readers “to consider thoughtful opinions we might not otherwise be reading.” That was the purpose of the agreement between the two separately owned newspapers: The leaders of The News-Sentinel wanted to continue to offer the newspaper’s conservative voice to local readers in print while also producing a comprehensive and timely online product. We at News-Sentinel.com are gratified to know that this reader appreciates our alternative “voice” that appears consistently on our print pages within The Journal Gazette. We hope others do as well. However, her letter went on to make another point we also believe deserves addressing.

She wrote about Congressman Jim Banks (R-3rd District) and her encounter with him at a meeting in his downtown office after he was first elected during which she “specifically asked him if he represented everyone in our district or only those who voted for him.”

She recounted that he assured her he represented everyone. But she went on to write, “Banks has not in any way represented anyone other than the most far-right voters.”

Her conclusion was that she would be voting for Democrat Courtney Tritch for 3rd District Congress in the primary election next month and that she urges others to do likewise.

We reject the letter writer’s implied conclusion that because Banks stayed true to the policies and conservative path he promised to follow prior to the election that he is somehow now betraying his district and should be replaced by Tritch.

What would those conservative Republican voters who cast their ballots for Banks in 2016 be feeling right now if upon assuming office their candidate suddenly decided to stray from the promises that got him elected? Would that not be a true betrayal?

Yes, our congressional representatives are responsible to represent “everyone” in their district by voting on the issues as they apply to the particular needs of their constituency. But with the polarization of viewpoints between voters of every stripe within this and every district in the U.S., it is unrealistic to expect any representative to make “everyone” they serve happy on every issue. They are, however, responsible to the voters who put them in office — that’s how it works.

And while “everyone” didn’t vote for Banks, 70 percent of the voters in the 2016 election did — and that’s a lot.

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