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Ron Sachs: Candidates — voluntarily halt campaigns, fundraising during coronavirus crisis

It is the moment when each and every one of us can be a patriot.

Our entire state, country and world are in largely uncharted territory.

Separately and together we’re navigating the dangerous, turbulent tide of a virus that already has begun to shut down normal life everywhere — with more to come. This new normal could be with us for a long time, and it will test our patience, calm, unity and solidarity of being committed to whatever it takes to prevent widespread illness and protect our population.

As Florida’s 2020 Session of the Florida Legislature comes to a close, elected public officials (and those who aspire to be) at the local, state and federal levels now turn some of their focus to getting elected, including the demanding and mammoth fundraising that generates fuel for every campaign. And many will be cranking up their overall campaigns, despite this unprecedented era.

But let’s pause to reflect on what really matters now.

It’s tone-deaf to the harsh realities of the threat to public health for political candidates to take their focus off the public interest by shifting attention to their own political lives now.

Let’s recognize that this is not a good time to fundraise or campaign for local, state and federal positions. No fundraising events, emails, texts or brochures are needed or welcomed now. Republicans, Democrats and independents have an opportunity to appear united in purpose to protect public health and safety over any personal political position.

You may not get much active credit for just doing your jobs now and being even a small part of keeping us all safe. But you surely would earn some deserved disdain by engaging in fundraising or campaigning now — even without events — at such a serious time.

Perhaps our republic and democratic ways are best protected right now by making the only campaign that matters the campaign to keep our community, state, nation, and world as safe as possible.

Such an appropriate short-term focus ultimately should be rewarded — for it’s doing the right thing. And many of us always hope to vote for the right thing, and for those who demonstrate it by putting public service over politics.

We’ll have our elections, and campaigns will crank back up eventually. But not now.

Every individual, family, business, government, nonprofit and all the institutions that make us a community are plunged into a too-rare moment created by this crisis. It also presents a unique opportunity to embrace a shared purpose: staying healthy, protecting each other and getting through this traumatic time.

Just as in the aftermath of 9/11, when Americans of diverse beliefs and backgrounds pulled together to face a common threat and to make sacrifices that are still with us today, this is our next opportunity to rise above differences for a higher calling.

It is the moment when each and every one of us can be a patriot.

As we expect that behavior for ourselves, our families, friends, neighbors and co-workers, we also expect it of our candidates for office.

Thank you for your willingness to serve.

For now, let that service be demonstrated best by standing with the rest of us against this threat, but standing down from fundraising and politics.

___

Ron Sachs is the CEO of Sachs Media Inc.

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