Election Day 2009

It seems like we were just here not that long ago….

Local elections only for me with a new mayor and two council positions open. I’m fairly confident my selection for mayor will win and quite possibly both council positions as well. I suppose that’s a good thing, but I readily admit I’m kind of not really that concerned with the mayor; both would be overall good candidates I think with an equal measure of political yuck associated.

But the Council…. One race, city-wide council rep, is completely beyond my interest. It’s been dominated by one person from the get-go, and the election is merely a formality. Besides, as with the mayor, I think either candidate would be acceptable.

The other race has been somewhat bitter with a strong candidate in one corner and a nameless entity in the other. This race has seen an anti-group speak much louder than an actual opposition. Instead of presenting a clear alternative, the opposition has stepped forward with an “anyone but…” approach that has been wonderfully bitter and angry.

In large measure, it has defined my political frustration this last year.

It seems that politics in general have disintegrated into stopping the other party more than actually offering a solution. I felt that way in the past, and I definitely feel that way with both parties currently. Not all, of  course, but there is certainly a measure of hindrance rather than discussion that I find distasteful.

I think it was Louisiana governor Jindal who said that an opposition party’s primary duty is to offer constructive alternatives, a thought that truly practiced would lead to great success. But I don’t see that anymore from either party.

From Obama’s sham of bipartisanship to republican stall tactics, all I see lately is a me-first, party-first mentality that seems bent on political failure. Ideas and thoughts are no longer encouraged, especially in the public forum where opposing camps immediately label outsiders as fools while simultaneously choosing to ignore and reject out of hand any other options. Tell me: Who is more foolish? The person who suggests something different or the person who rejects those thoughts based on preconceived notions of right and wrong?

I miss the true political dialog of constructive debate. Watching this council race has shown me quite clearly that many of us have lost the fine art of developing alternatives, presenting them in meaningful ways, and building on mutual foundations. Instead of introducing an alternative, we are too eager to impede.

I’ve found it interesting that the most commonly used phrase in relation to this council member is “stop so-and-so.” Where is progress in this argument? Where is the constructive moment? Where is the opportunity?

No, I’m afraid I’m going to support that candidate simply because the alternative appears to be an empty vacuum of negativity. If they had offered a solution, I would have taken a hard look at it. From where I sit, though, all they are offering is to stop.

Sorry, stopping isn’t an alternative; it’s an acceptance of failure.

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5 Responses to Election Day 2009

  1. nosurfgirl says:

    Yeah. Siiigh. I still haven’t gotten caught up in local politics, I think mostly because i know there won’t be ANYONE around here who would put forward the sort of solutions I would like to see. Which is silly and ridiculous. I think I feel like I’m riding a wave of Red out here in Utah valley… I’ll just let the Red and passionate political activism of others prevail and not be the one tiny blue dot of a naysayer 🙂

    Completely ridiculous. I’m going to try to do better in the next local election.

  2. daveloveless says:

    So totally understanding that you have kids and that’s why not, but why don’t you run?

    Our town uses a non-partisan system which would make your ideas stand on their own merits. I think you’d be surprised how reasonable that local red wave is when they are presented with good ideas.

    Besides, I’m not so sure it’s as red as you think. More and more it seems to be purple (independents like me) than anything else.

  3. nosurfgirl says:

    I agree. In fact, a lot of our local people are great. Jeffrey voted for some guy (see i’m selectively blocking my mind on this topic) who sounds like he’d do good things, and looks like he might win, too.

    I think I’m just scared that if I participate in local politics, I’ll have to discuss politics with lots of local people…. 🙂

  4. I have to disagree with nosurfgirl on the local community being irrevocably “red”. One surprising aspect of this mayoral election was the decidedly non-partisan voter distribution. Both candidates indicated party leanings, but the actual voter counts showed no party loyalty whatsoever (Daily Herald: http://preview.tinyurl.com/yjyp6o8). In this race, issues and positions mattered more than party affiliation.
    It’s about time citizens started paying more attention to ideas than ideologues.
    However, I agree with Dave that this was a bland election over all. There was little discussion about issues and no real brainstorming. I was left with petty differences to choose between, like:
    – who had the better web site
    – who was the least “political” sounding
    – who had the least amount of time in office (when in doubt, vote out)
    As for the city council…. Let’s just say exposure to power is like radiation, the more you have, the sicker and more mutated you may become (some are more resistant than others). The power in this city is too centralized, and should be more distributed to the neighborhoods.

  5. nosurfgirl says:

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. I have to “un-jade” myself.

    I just doubt any candidate coming out of provo are going to be for a public health care option 🙂

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