The Telegram newsroom’s focus Sept. 13 on the nationalization of Maine’s U.S. Senate race spotlighted some of the forces contributing to the alienation of voters and the degradation of political discourse.

It was ironic that columnist Bill Nemitz’s piece appeared in the same edition, criticizing Sen. Susan Collins for not renouncing the president, thereby sacrificing her political career (and over two decades of Senate seniority she has earned for our state) for the sake of a symbolic gesture on a relentless national topic about which the vast majority of the public has already taken sides, and further eroding whatever space remains in that contest for a focus on local issues.

The polarization, mistrust and anxiety that voters experience over national politics are being laid bare at a time when health and climate challenges require a coordinated federal response, exacerbating the concerns.

But many of us can take heart in the persistence of our fellow Mainers in local and regional office as they engineer a new educational architecture, maintain and grow business networks and hammer out effective government policy at the state and local level. This often-mundane, unheralded work takes place beneath the constant rancor of our national political discourse, yet often affects us far more directly.

Perhaps there is an opportunity to craft a more positive, responsive, credible and inclusive national politics if voters and media columnists alike are willing to home in on what works locally, and ignore the incorrigible spectacle put on by the national parties.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.