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Editorial: We can agree to disagree and not make a scene

The new year, 2012, will likely be a brutal one politically. The campaigning for the presidential election alone guarantees that.

But 2012, with its slate of local spring elections and state, congressional and senate fall elections, will likely have as its centerpiece a governor's recall election by late spring or summer.

Picture that recall election in the midst of the heated rhetoric between the dueling presidential candidates.

You already get the picture just by taking note of recent incidents in the River Falls area related to the Gov. Scott Walker recall drive.

On South Main Street in front of EconoFoods, a local man allegedly jabs and rips petition signatures with his pen, then scoots off while calling himself George Washington.

On North Main Street, in front of the River Falls Housing Authority apartments, a local woman allegedly attacks a recall petition table, overturning it and spitting at volunteers stationed there. The woman was said to be mad about being denied a request to post a Ron Paul for president sign on her rental property.

In Hudson, a man gets two citations for allegedly knocking over signs at a recall station and trying to provoke a fistfight. In Pierce County's Elmwood, a suspect quickly left before officers arrived after yelling at recall signature collectors.

None of the disturbances resulted in the more serious felony charges for the offenders. Yet the incidents, while scattered, are a sign of simmering tensions that continue to divide many of us politically -- both on a local and national level.

As 2012 unfolds, stay informed but stay calm. Shun confrontations that disrupt our legal democratic process.

This new year, pledge to save your energy and take action where it counts: In the voting booth. There will be plenty of opportunities.