Saturday, November 3, 2007

Small-Town Politics Stink Bigtime

I'm writing this as the three girls giggle in the basement. We went to the "Bee Movie," which they loved and I thought was unfunny. Then we ate at O's favorite, Ho Ho Buffet, which she pronounces to rhyme with Yo-Yo Tuffet. Paul is off at CU hockey, and I'm catching up on the bazillion emails for the day.

Anyone who reads this knows my fondness for small-town politics, the politics that most affect us where we live. I've been deeply involved since I moved back to town 16 years ago, and win or lose, it's always been fun.

Not this year, though.

I ran into Tom Hatfield at Clark's. He's the former GOP chair in Dryden. I amused him greatly by telling him how much we Dryden Democrats missed him. He's out of GOP-land now, having formed his own third party a couple of years ago (to escape the national scene? or the radical religious right in town?), and he's concentrating now on business rather than politics. He and I were on the same side of some school issues, and he's always been both upfront and respectful with me, as I hope I have with him.

I think the fallout from this year's ugly campaign will linger with us much the way the fallout from the ugly small-schools debate did a few years ago. We're just picking up the pieces from that one, and in fact, there are many residual issues that remain. If some of the key personalities hadn't left town, I despair of where we might be today. (It interests me that a couple of the key personalities in both cases bubbled up from the same spiritual cauldron. I'll have to think about that.)

During the few brief weeks of this year's local campaign, I have felt personally threatened, my beliefs and concerns challenged, my love for this town where I'm bringing up my daughter severely compromised. And I wasn't even running for office.

I can't imagine how we're going to field local candidates when they know that they might be lied about, bullied, and disrespected in a public forum. I can't imagine wanting to search for candidates that meet the narrow-minded sector's qualifications: Christian, white, homegrown, placid, unthinking.

I wrote directly to the GOP candidates and their chair to say "Shame on you." They did not understand. They took offense. They said uncivil things about me to my neighbors and friends. Now I'll repeat it more publicly. Shame on you for bringing out the evil in your friends, for making it less possible for people to run for office, for acting with malice toward good and honest candidates who only wanted to make things better (indeed, some already have). The fact that you think you've run an above-board campaign shows only how skewed your "Christian" values truly are.

I Pay Attention, And I Vote.

1 comment:

HP said...

Well, with all that it's almost over. One good thing that came out of it....you brought all the local canidates to my attention...and I'm voting a full Democratic Slate! :)