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Friday, February 27, 2009

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like.....

Can I consider myself a regular blogger if I only blog every 2 years? How the time has flown! Maybe it's just that an election year ignites a special kind of fire in me that must be expressed in sharing my somewhat screwy opinion. Since my last post I have survived state and national elections, and here I am, about to wallow in the discomfort of municipal elections. What a country.

These municipal elections are the hardest to endure. Unless your mayor or alderman is an out and out cad, you can probably stand him for one more term. But there is almost always someone who can do a better job. Sometimes we're put in the same position as the designee in a durable power of attorney: it's up to us to pull the plug. Regardless of what some elected officials believe, their positions are not entitlements. Don't ask us to vote for you because you need to support your family, or because you need the health insurance, or for any other reason except that you will do a better job than any of the other candidates. For a political challenger, there is nothing harder to overcome than incumbency. What does that say about us as voters? "Better the devil we know than the devil we don't know"? The problem is that not many smart, capable people are willing to hang themselves on the cross of public examination.

You'd think that the dearth of candidates would make the decisions easier, but that hasn't been my experience. One way that the powers that be have tried to "help" us decide who to vote for is the bipartisan election. Do you want a Democrat or a Republican to fix your bridge? I'm sorry, but I could care less about the political affiliation of my local office holders. One sure way to get on my wrong side is to try to ride on a national politician's coattails. How much money are we wasting on party primaries? We live in a well-funded county, but waste is waste. If every single person in our town is well provided for (they're not), let's help out the hungry people in the next town.

A sad truth about these elections is that we don't really study the issues enough to make an informed opinion. As long as we're sailing along in a comfortable boat, let things stay the same. Let a few waves crash over the side, and we're looking for a new hand at the tiller. Never mind that there is a huge hole in the floor of the boat, plugged with bubble gum and newspaper. Or that the boat has only sailed a few feet from the shore. Okay, that's enough of the boat metaphor.

Here's what I want to know: are all the citizens getting a fair shake? Or are some groups getting preferred treatment? I mean all citizens, not just the ones who supported the winner in the last election. Is business being conducted fairly? Are jobs put up for open bid? Or do you have to know someone to get a job? Are all the branches (even a town has those 3 divisions: executive, legislative, judicial) relatively independent? I won't even pretend to know the right answers, and I am not here to endorse anyone or promote an agenda.

The deadline for filing for candidacy is drawing near. I hope all the positions have at least 10 candidates and I can't wait to see whose hats end up in the ring.