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.