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“All politics is theater” is the old adage. Whether you choose to interpret that as a military theatre of operations or stage theater, much of modern American national politics is seesaw between two rival powers who honestly agree on values and duties about 95 percent of time, but most of their time arguing about that final 5 percent. Occasionally, on idle Tuesdays between lunch and midafternoon, laws get passed and actual governing gets done.

Presidential nominating conventions are high theater, described by NPR reporter Mara Liasson a “staged infomercial.”

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For more than 50 years, we’ve been catering to Sedona and the Verde Valley. We know it’s a good idea to keep our money circulating locally, supporting small business owners and the economy of the Verde Valley.

Elections in rural Arizona are odd creatures.File photo/Larson Newspapers

On the local level, city and town elections are by law nonpartisan affairs, meaning voters must choose from a slate of candidates, whose names appear on ballots sans the familiar R, D, L or G behind their name, indicating their political party affiliation.

As we prepare for our nation’s 240th birthday, we face a world seemingly more divided than ever.The Uniked Kingdom's flag, Union Jack

We face one of the most contentious presidential elections in our history with two major candidates who faced major internecine opposition before their respective nominations and widespread distrust from both members of their own parties and the electorate as a whole.

The mass murder of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., has reignited the debate on guns in the United States.File photo/Larson Newspapers

Gun violence in mass shootings is rare. The Pulse massacre, the 14 dead in the December San Bernadino attacks, and the murder of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 are heart-wrenching tragedies, but just a sliver of gun deaths nationwide. In 2015, 12,942 people were victims of gun homicide, unintentional shooting, domestic violence shootings and murder-suicides.

Early Sunday morning, we witnessed the deadliest mass shooting in American history at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

The American-born shooter, Omar Mateen, killed 49 people and injured at least 53 in a three-hour hostage standoff before being killed by local police, who burst through a bathroom wall of the iconic nightspot and shot him dead.

The National Weather Service warned of excessive heat for areas below 4,000 feet throughout Northern Arizona over the weekend. Flagstaff, Cottonwood, Page and Winslow all set records this weekend.

Of course, given the amount of smoke in the air in Sedona and the Verde Valley due to nearby wildfires, “outside” was uncomfortable for all sorts of reasons.

To the graduating Class of 2016, as you are soon to leave high school, I offer this advice. Take what you need:

Wear sunscreen. It’s good advice I heard in a Baz Luhrman song.

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