Column: Learning from the past, planning for the future; deadline for submitting candidate questions is Friday

Last week, someone from somewhere else contacted us through our website to suggest that we editorialize against the Battle of Snoqualmie living history display scheduled for this weekend at Meadowbrook Farm. This person’s vaguely worded contention was that, in light of the events of Aug. 12 in Charlottesville, plus the trend of calling for the removal and in some cases defacing of Civil War monuments, plus the cancellation of other re-enactments in the south, it might be inappropriate to proceed with the re-enactment here.

I couldn’t disagree more.

Yet, as the local newspaper, we are responsible for reflecting the voices of the community, and encouraging everyone to speak up for the things they believe in. I’ll start — which means that you are now invited to follow, agree or disagree.

I believe in learning from our history, which first requires that we actually learn our history. But not all of us learn in the same way. If you learn by reading, you have an advantage over the more experiential learners. None of us were around in 1865 when the war ended, and that includes the state of Washington, still only a territory at the time and never the scene of any Battle of Snoqualmie. If we don’t absorb the information from that period by reading about it, then a living history demonstration is entirely appropriate.

The weekend’s battle is, as I’ve said before, entirely fictional. It never happened in history and no one is claiming it did. What these dedicated historians and volunteers are claiming is that the things they do, from keeping house to moving troops, are all things that could have happened if there had been a battle at Meadowbrook Farm, and that they absolutely did happen, in general, at dozens of encampments during the actual war 150 years ago.

I believe that we have made great strides in technology and social justice since the founding, division, and reunification of this country, too. There is not one thing about the day-to-day life of 1865, which you can see in person this weekend, that hasn’t been changed and, for the most part, improved by scientific advances in 2017. And in our official constitution, if not in all our politics and business dealings, men and women of all races are considered equals.

I believe that’s worth remembering, too. Because we still have a long way to go, as that person who contacted us last week implied, and I don’t know how we can be inspired to fix our mistakes unless we also remember that we’ve already made them, at least once.

Deadline looming

Another conversation that we’ve been having for a couple of months already is about to go public — the debate over which candidates can build the best future for our cities, school districts and county.

We at the Valley Record are working with the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce to help voters make their choices by presenting a series of candidate forums over the next few weeks, and are inviting you, the voters, to send in the questions you’d most like to ask of the candidates.

Five forums are scheduled:

Wednesday, Sept. 27 – King County Council District 3 candidates, Kathy Lambert, incumbent, and John Murphy, coinciding with the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce luncheon, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge;

Thursday, Oct. 5 – Snoqualmie City Council candidates, 6 to 8:30 p.m. at The Club at the Ridge, with social starting at 5:30 p.m.;

Thursday, Oct. 12 – Snoqualmie Valley School Board candidates, 5 to 7 p.m. at The Club at the Ridge, with social starting at 4:30 p.m.;

Wednesday, Oct. 18 – North Bend City Council candidates, 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Mount Si Senior Center, social starting at 4:45 p.m.; and

Wednesday, Oct. 25 — Snoqualmie Mayor candidates, Matt Larson, incumbent, and Fuzzy Fletcher, coinciding with the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce luncheon, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at The Club at the Ridge;.

Submit your candidate questions as early and often as you think of them. The deadline for submissions is noon Friday, Sept. 15. Send them to me at or at P.O. Box 300, Snoqualmie, WA 98065. Include the race your question is for, along with your name, email address and phone number (for verification only).

And check our website for updates on the candidates and elections,