News and Editorial

OPINION: On Civility in Politics, Charlestown, and John McCain

indexLeah Farris Lowe, Publisher  | This has been a long week, and I’ve been thinking about a lot of things both as a citizen of Charlestown, and as a citizen in general. I’ve been torn at times lately in publishing divided opinions, and the constant feedback to either side – but we remain unwavering in our commitment to truth and to offering a variety of perspectives on local issues. It is painful at times, how divided our small town has become over a number of issues. We want to be a positive voice for Charlestown – but we as a community are also facing some very tough issues – and at times these matters require an open forum and a direct approach.

We will never endorse any blatant bashing of an administration or candidate and foremost hope that this publication lends itself to civil discourse.

I grew up around here – I’ve lived or worked in every area of Clark County. I see a number of sides of the issues facing our community and hope that as a publication we can serve a bigger purpose and give voice to those needing a forum. My husband Tom has been around here even longer, and no, despite rumor – he’s not running for Mayor, or anything else – he’s looking forward to scaling back his law practice and coaching little league baseball.

I’m 35 – my first job was at a video store in Henryville, but my first real job was working on the GOP primary campaign of John McCain in his 2000 bid for the Presidential nomination. I was still in high school at the time – but I worked knocking doors and making phone calls out of Louisville asking people to vote for McCain. I believed in him – his book Faith of my Fathers and his time in Hanoi inspired me. If there is one thing you can truly believe about John, it’s that he honestly believed in a bigger purpose to this life – and that purpose for him was Country. He later fell to George W. Bush, and the rest as you know, is history. I still have that t-shirt, and it was my first true heartbreak.

I’ve been thinking about that period of time a lot this week. My politics have evolved over the years, but my respect for McCain has always remained a constant. His irreverence to the party system, his willingness to cross party lines and form alliances to get things done for the greater good, but most of all his awkward authenticity and steadfast credibility – these are the things that remained intact, the things people largely cursed him for until his passing…at which time they became comfortably more heroic. The least of his heroism, as actual fact would have it. McCain was a true Statesman, though candid and unabashed at times. He was a systematic, rational thinker with an even temper despite his reputation…not the type of candidate who could ever survive in this era of hyperbole – and as Biden put it, we will not see the likes of him again.

I am the oldest of the Millennial’s – and I suppose my hope for this generation is that we remember those fleeting days of civility in politics. When a man could lose to a contender but praise him for his love of country (or locality) and encourage us all to move forward as one. When a person could endure the term of a candidate they didn’t vote for, but give consideration to each idea or initiative without preconceived bias. To speak up when appropriate against wrongdoings, but not to bash someone ad nauseum on anything from their appearance to their religion.

It’s my larger hope – and belief, honestly – that our generation will mark the return of Americal political civility.

I hope the same for Charlestown.

In Senator McCain’s farewell letter to us all, he states in part, “we weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred,” he later goes on to state that “we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country, we will get through these challenging times. We will come through them stronger than before. We always do.” 

We’ve been publishing the new Charlestown Courier for about three months. In this time, we’ve gotten to know some truly incredible individuals. Many of you don’t agree with one another about many things  – or are solidified in the alliances of divided sides. Some of you don’t agree with us. Most of you are really amazing people. A few of you are turds, honestly – and we can probably all do a little better.

The issues facing us are truly divisive ones and not to be ignored – but we are bigger than these problems. Times will change, Mayors may change, some day our kids will replace us and will be dealing with whatever issues we leave behind for them – let the example be in how we pass these things on and how we handle and treat one another.

Leah Farris Lowe is the Publisher of Charlestown Courier. She is a stay at home mom to two toddlers and a teenage football player, and is a full-time student herself in her last year of undergrad completing a degree in Business with minors in Communications and Journalism. Email her at

3 replies »

  1. Thank you for doing this, I’m sure you know there was once a Charlestown Courier, a weekly paper. Now a more personal question, is Tom from Sellersburg? The son of Tom and Elizabeth Lowe? I worked at the same place Elizabeth did, the powder plant. I was one of her 1st Home Interior party givers. Have wondered about her through the years.

    • Hi Patricia, I am sorry for the delay, we are just seeing this – yes Tom is the son of Tom and Elizabeth! Send me a message on Facebook or and we will reach out the next time they are in town!

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