Friday, November 4, 2011

This Election Season…Politics or Reason?

It’s hard to believe that October’s already done.

We just had Halloween and now its election season…which some say are really one and the same.

Halloween is the time of year when folks put on colorful costumes and scary party masks, then come to your door and holler, “Trick or treat!” 

Usually, if you smile and give them some candy they go away.

Election season is when politicians put on their own colorful costumes and scary party masks, then come to your door and holler “Vote for me!” 

Usually, if you smile and give them candy they don’t go away…they stay and tell you all the things that are wrong in your village, your town, your county, your state and your country and how they’re going to get rid of all that and get it right this time. 

They don’t always tell you how they’re going to do that…but they tell you that they are.

Usually, by the time they’re done, you’re so bleary eyed from trying to maintain a modicum of polite eye contact that, under normal circumstances, would indicate a degree of interest, but in this case only indicates amazement that a person can actually talk out of both sides of his or her mouth and still smile at the same time.

Maybe they are wearing some kind of a mask.

But regardless of political parties, issues and views, I do admire anybody that runs for office with the sole intention of serving their country or community. While most of us are sitting at home watching the latest episode of “Survivor” these dedicated people give up their time and energy, not to mention in some cases their pay checks, to work together, making sure everything runs the way it’s supposed to.

At least that’s the theory.

Not always the practice.

I’m naive when it comes to politics; I admit it.  All the real politicos among you will probably roll your eyes while reading this. Probably even utter a scoff or two…maybe even three.

Sure, I read the papers, watch the news, follow the issues… but when it comes to casting my ballot I usually end up voting for the guy who reminds me most of Martin Sheen on the “West Wing”.

Man he was a great President….

Because we live in a large metropolitan area, adorned...or burdened...with multiple layers of government, in the US of A…we have the great fortune that most every year is a major political season. Someone is always running for some big government office or another: President, Senator, Congressman, Governor, State Senator and legislator…Mayor, Trustee, Town Supervisor, Town Council, County Executive, County legislator…and on and on it goes.
Sorry if I missed anybody. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of who’s running for what and just how many votes I can use to vote for whom. I think this year I get 26 votes to pick a highway supervisor…and I’m using every one of them. 
Sadly, when it comes to hometown politics the only issues that really concern me are things like who, what, when and where as it relates to picking up my garbage and making sure the snow plows come by without burying the end of my driveway under 8 ft. of snow and ice. Of course it’s also nice to have police on patrol and fireman who come to the rescue when called.  Turning the power back on when it goes nice.  Oh, and keeping my taxes reasonable is a plus, while you’re at it.
I know that sounds terrible, but I don’t think I’m alone in that regard. I mean just look at the voting percentages. Not too good. I think in my district it’s just me and a guy from around the corner who comes for the free coffee, which no one has the heart to say they don’t have.
I’m not too sure why the vote is so low, but I think a lot of it has to do with something those wise old political pundits “The Who” said a long time ago… “Meet the new boss…same as the old boss.”
From the national level, right on down to the village, folks just don’t have a lot of faith in the system, even though it is the best system in the world—whatever system we’re using in town these days.
Maybe because politics, on all levels, has really just become another version of “Survivor”….without the cute girls running around in their underwear. 
Although sometimes….
Members of the same team, tribe or parties, form alliances behind a giant mango bush. Work hard to solidify their own positions in the game by making sure they have enough votes to override the other faction’s plans. It doesn’t matter that in the process the tribe as a whole is going down in flames, losing every challenge because no one’s pulling in the same direction.
The only thing that matters is that their agenda is the one that goes forward. And in the end that tribe always ends up defeating itself because they’re tactics become obvious to anyone who is paying attention.
It would be nice to let those who are elected—from President to small town Mayors and Trustees—have a chance to govern. To cooperate instead of obstruct. To see if they actually can do the job they promised they could do. And if they can’t, then on to the “New Boss”. 
Enough with personal agendas and personal attacks about who did what, when or said or wrote what, when.
Maybe we should try to focus on what they’re doing now and how they’re doing it….
Politics or Reason? 

No matter what level of government—national, state, county, town or village— instead of worrying about who has the majority or how to get the majority back, why not try taking that whole “Government by the people for the people” thing to heart. 
Oh…and while you’re at it…make sure you get my garbage picked up and that the snow plows come by without burying the end of my driveway under 8 ft. of snow and ice. And it’s also nice to have police on patrol and fireman who come to the rescue when called. Turning the power back on when it goes nice.  Oh, and don’t forget to keep my taxes reasonable. And, by the way, I’m still waiting to get the potholes on the other half of my street paved over….
Who paves half a street…?

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