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Monday, September 17, 2007

Whoopie Doopie

Local Political Vacuum

I've done many varied and interesting things the past few days, mostly trying to find ways to help the community. Saturday I attended a leadership conference, then went off to help with a fundraiser. Sunday I went to a Legion Riders meeting where my friend Barb and I took photos for charity. Sunday night I started tweaking the portraits. (We're selling portraits for $10 each, figgering it'll cost about $4 to process the photo, leaving us with $6 to put in the Delaschmutt fund. Joe Delaschmutt is a local soldier who returned from Iraq with leukemia.) I'm not bragging or anything, but I want you to know that I'm aware of what's going on in my little corner of the world, and I like to think I can help.

Today I was sitting at work at the print shop, morosely pecking away at designing some newsletter or another, when I got an e-mail from a local politician. He's running for City Council, and is having us design some little handouts for him to distribute. The e-mail was simply saying, "Oh, I forgot, can you put this quotation on the bottom of my handouts when you do the design." I stopped what I was doing and did the "cut and past" thing and inserted his quote, right below the bullet points of all his achievements.

It struck me as I was doing this that, as interested as I am in politics, and as aware as I am of what's happening in my neighborhood, I really didn't care to read any of this guy's stuff. Even as I designed the piece, which took me about twenty minutes or so, I never bothered to read more than about five words. Twenty minutes I stared at that job, never reading it.

Now, you'd think that I'd be very interested in what a local politician has to say. What does he want to do about the homeless problem we have? What does he want to do about the gang situation? The drive-by shootings in my neighborhood? The veterans who can't afford medical care? But in the past few months I've seen so many "propaganda pieces" from politicians, both local and national, that they all blur together. They all say the same things.

"I support better education." Well, who doesn't? "I'm in favor of funding the police." Great! So is everyone else. (At least I've never seen anyone say they want to cut police protection before an election.) The candidates all want the same things -- economic growth, lower crime, better edumacation. So I've quit paying attention.

What I want to hear is specifics. "I want to lower youth crime and gang activity by increasing police presence in key neighborhoods, and having policemen individually responsible for neighborhoods such as the 'cop on the beat' in the old days." Or, "I want to increase economic diversity in the area by breaking the monopoly the power company currently enjoys. The power company should not be allowed to charge poor people $25 a month MORE if they don't have a telephone, nor should they be allowed to block private power development." I want to hear these things. I want to hear ANY specific plan.

Someone, anyone, please tell me what you're doing. Don't tell me you support just about everything. I know that. Tell me how you're going to do one little thing. Anything.

5 Comments:

Blogger Bert Bananas said...

Chris, I'm happy to give you the benefit of my cynicism: Since all politics is local, all politicians are the same. They're in it for themselves, for what they can get out of it. If they weren't, they'd be you, doing little bits here and there, trying to make the world a nicer place.

Worst of all are the 'single issue' local (national) politicians, who are going to get one thing right, come hell or high water.

so hooray for you and down with politicians.

10:55 PM  
Blogger The Guv'ner said...

I was just saying the other day that I'm sick of local politics here in the city because I couldn't honestly tell you what any of those local politicians want to do to benefit me or anyone else, it's all about bad mouthing the other guy and the power. I couldn't tell you where any of my local politicians stand on green issues, on traffic congestion, on the immigration issue because whenever they've been asked they've skirted around the issue with glossy, text book answers.

I actually kind of dig Mayor Bloomberg, which as a non-republican I guess is unfashionable to say, but he's exactly the sort of person MY city needs: i.e., not really a politician at all, not concerned with bullshitting people or humouring them, he says what he thinks and isn't afraid to be unpopular and he's a CEO - he's concerned with the business of running a city profitably and lowering its deficit, while trying to make sure people who aren't being cared for, are.

I think sadly, a lot of politicians really don't care. They might start off with that aim but somewhere along the line it becomes all about the power. The second i hear a politician talk smack about his opposition I cross him off my "vote for" list. I wanna know what you can do, not what the other guy can't.

Then again, as I pointed out before, I can't vote.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Leonesse said...

I have been fighting city hall for 2 years. I seem to have cracked the stone on one little issue but they don't seem to want to budge on another. We shall see how this goes. I think I am being roped into a council meeting next week and may be being used by one faction against another. Good times.

On the national stage, I spend my time reading as much as I can on the issues and not understanding why so much of it isn't front page news. And why there isn't a huge impeachment trial occuring. (No matter what your political leaning, you just can't argue the facts that there is some really shady dealings going on.)

4:29 PM  
Blogger katrocket said...

You have a direct line to this politician, because he's your client. If I were you, I would e-mail him the link to this post.

7:07 PM  
Blogger pistols at dawn said...

I only listen to candidates who speak in generalities, because I also think that crime is bad and schools are good, and that's all the thought I've put into the issues as well.

4:36 PM  

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