A neighbor who lives three or four houses from the one I live in stopped by last evening to hand out some papers supporting a local candidate for City Council and invite me to a get-together Thursday. The candidate's signs have been popping up like toadstools on lawns all over the ward he hopes to represent. His picture shows a clean-cut young man with a smile displaying straight teeth.
The neighbor showed off her get-along-with-everyone skills as we chatted about this and that. I suggested that it might be nice to know what, precisely, the candidate stood for ... and she agreed that that was a good suggestion ... but offered no concrete positions. I have a feeling that Thursday's get-together will be more of the same ... stuff like "transparency in government," which is one of those ancient promises that resembles the latest Republican descriptions of business as "the job creators." It all sounds good until you look for the jobs created or recognize that the charter of this small city favors a strong mayor and a lack of transparency. No candidate runs on the proposition that the charter needs to be changed ... people zone out when they hear stuff like that.
I'm of two minds whether to attend the Thursday night get-together. On the one hand, I have a large sum I would be willing to bet that the people in the room will be noticeably lacking in callouses -- the callouses whose taxes maintain quality-of-life facets of this city every bit as much as those whose idea of shoveling is pretty much limited to looking through the yellow pages. Much as I find them idiotic, I would like to think that Glenn Beck enthusiasts and those who knew what it was to sweat would be on hand.
But I have to admit that, like a lot of other people, I suspect, when it comes to politics, I can whip out a boatload of skepticism and anger, but cannot put forth a creative platform of my own. I can react, but not summon a paradigm for action. Some may forgive themselves glibly with the notion that taking a positive stand is "not my job." I don't find that reassuring or really much more than a righteous laziness.
When it comes to politics, I suspect the crabbiness that arises is based on a longing to trust ... and the experience of imagining that trust was betrayed. A pox on all political houses! But since a society without format is just an invitation to brutality, I think it is important to consider or seek out the format that seems to promise the least betrayal ... the candidate who will, count on it, screw your pooch ... but maybe not as often or as forcibly as some others. I think I might be inclined to vote for someone who did me the courtesy of not asking me to trust him/her.
Oh well ... never discuss religion or politics at the dinner table...
And perhaps on a blog.