Tuesday, November 27, 2007
All Politics is Local
There is Parents Advisory/Site Council meeting tonight at the school. This is the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District version of the PTA. I am the Vice President of this austere body. As vice president, I have yet to avail myself of the prerogative of drunkenly shooting friends in the face (my wife, who is not any sort of office holder, once shot me in the head, almost point blank, with an air-soft bb-gun and I believe ETOH was a factor.)
This is my one and only foray into electoral politics. I was placed in office as a write-in candidate with an overwhelming mandate of 8 votes. I beat my next two rivals by a two vote margin. Soooo proud. I believe I ahve two courses of action available to me: 1. to retire after a few terms of office and become a lobbyist, or 2. my 10 year old son can start lobbying for the school lunch industry. That is how it is done, isn't it? Cha-ching!!!! But really being on this little board does make a difference, maybe just a small one, but you gotta be willing to stand up for principles even when hardly anyone is watching, maybe even more so then.
Locally, there is a reflection of national issues. Issues like censorship, creationism, red v. blue etc. A more accurate view is it that the Republicans, seeing that they have no ability to be elected on policy/economic issues, identify local and cultural wedge issues to motivate a base for themselves. (There is no way in hell that Dick Cheney believes in any of this fundamentalist crap; he professes love for his gay daughter and her child, his wife wrote soft-core porn, he never quotes scripture. He doesn't pander to that part of their coalition, he just keeps quiet until they need someone to scare the hell out of everyone. He is just not that dumb. I will even say that George W. is not that dumb, but he does pander. That is his job, but I digress.) This is a strategy based on deception and hypocrisy and, as in the rest of the world, people here have taken to it because it is much more simple than the nuance and effort it takes to be aware of real issues. It is easier to hate Hillary because she sort of supports gay rights, than to talk about her health care proposals.
It is a loosely coordinated strategy, and is seen locally on these advisory boards, on councils, on non-profit boards. Soon these individuals gain traction and are in charge of the place. Look at the case of the Gablers in Texas. It is scary, not really sinister but it has to be countered for our sakes and theirs. It seems like the Democrats had their heads up butts for the longest time and in the past couple of years are pulling it out with the "50 State Strategy."
Finally let me say that the other side really isn't the other side. They have their interests and motivations. I know they want a good, healthy, prosperous community. We may debate the definition what these things are, but we liberals, especially in Alaska, have not really been in on the debate; we haven't even been in on framing the debate. I just hope that we can come up with some real leadership and I hope someone brings cookies tonight.