Political awarenessgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
This is a question addressed to most of you out there who don't know who your County Councilman is, who don't know who your state representative is and don't have clue to which congressional district you're in. At a cost of $60 and an investment of 60 hours, I was able to qualify for election to a local political office. In the process of soliciting enough signatures to qualify I knocked on about 2,000 doors. What I found out from that experience is that 99.9% of the electorate don't have a clue what is going on, who represents them or why "stuff" happens to them. I thought that I was typical. The government, local, state and federal, is ripping you off! Now I know how they do it! YOU DON'T CARE! What I have found is that as long as you have enough money for your house and car payment, can afford to eat out and your soap operas/sports are not interrupted on TV, YOU DON'T CARE! Question: Is the opinion that I have developed wrong? I don't think so. All responses from those over 60 years of age do not count. I have found that that age group know what is going on.
-- John James (email@example.com), July 19, 2000
John, I'm only 59, so I qualify as a viable respondent. You are right, of course, but on this forum, you are preaching to the choir! I, too, hold a local ellected position. About 5% of the townspeople make all the decisions, and county and state numbers are similar. I've even been told "I don't bother to vote - I'd just be cancelling someone else's vote". This is how we wound up with the absolutely dreadful administration we are presently enduring. Keep working, and GL!
-- Brad (Homefixer@SacoRiver.net), July 19, 2000.
John, I'm 53---& my husband & I filed for Mayor & a city council member & 3 other people filed for city council the last election! Now there were 14 people who voted & we were beat (all of us who filed) by 34 absentee votes--by people who hadn't lived here for quite some time--some had even sold their property here!!!!! The write-in for mayor came to one meeting before he resigned--another write-in for council was elected president of council & then stepped in for the mayor who quit--she was mayor for two or three meetings before she quit--another write -in was elected president of the council--but was never sworn in as mayor to fill the open position--most of these write-ins attend maybe one or two meetings--they slipped my husband in as a council member in a vanacy & have done everything they can to get rid of him/ as he holds them accountable!!! Now the present mayor has not resigned nor has he really been sworn in--but he never comes to the meetings---so another woman was elected president of the council & is acting mayor--the mayor in April when he/or she was suspose to appoint the city clerk--(as she is the one who is running the town) said, she was going to quit as clerk is now haveing someone else train under her, as soon as they can decide who is mayor --they can appoint this other girl to city clerk and the city clerk can take council position so she can vote! Before this election we had "2-for- one", as the same nman who was the town drunk was also mayor & boyfriend of the clerk that is quiting--he was also husband of the present acting, president of the council--my husband is the first certified water treatment operator/ who does the job for FREE so we know it is safe to drink the water!!!! We receive harrassment daily!!!!! Rules & laws do not apply to this town/ or city leaders!!!!! And no one gives a Darn! If I told you what really goes on at those council meeting no one would believe us! After all what I just said was made up/ or was it??? The people say no one cares & they can't get anyone to hold the offices----but when people who are experienced & have held these positions in the outside world file for office & attend meetings & care & pay the most taxes, & own the most property --they have a meeting & have people who don't any longier live here vote for the people that the city clerk can control & also are mostly renters who own no property or are on welfare, etc, --but of coarse I made all of this up/ as this surely could not really happen & no one give a damn!!!!!!!!
-- Sonda (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 19, 2000.
John, I totally agree with you. When I moved to a small town in New Hampshire I decided to get involved in the town so I went to some zoning board meetings. I was the only person in the audience. The board members were so surprised to see someone at their meeting that they thought I was from the local newspaper. They asked me what I was doing there. I started to think that maybe the meetings weren't open to the public and said so. As soon as I explained I was a citizen just interested in seeing what was going on, then they were fine with it. A few months later there was a vacancy on the board and I mentioned at the meeting, again I was still the only one there, that I would be interested in the position and they appointed me. I eventually got on the planning board as well. It was just that simple. And it was all because no one else in the town cared.
I think it is a crying shame that people are not more interested in what their local government is doing. That just translates to lack of interest in their state and federal government. They can be real good about complaining if they don't like something (that's the easy part) but they don't volunteer to do anything about it (that's the hard part). I always tell people if you are not willing to pitch in to try to change it then I don't want to hear your complaint. Sometimes the people that are in the government are doing the best they can. It may not be the best but at least they are doing something. Until the general population overcomes their apathy, we will continue to have a government that does what it wants. It is only through the actions of the general public that things will ever be changed. If every person on this list who complains about their government were to take one step to try to change it such as running for office or volunteering to help a candidate, etc., we could become a strong force for change. I hope it happens before something drastic happens.
-- Colleen (email@example.com), July 19, 2000.
John! You are so right! Most people don't care, just like you said. "Do whatever needs to be done just don't bother me"! How many times hae you heard that? As far as the younger generation, I doubt if they will have anybody to vote FOR. Seems it's here now--we go to vote AGAINST somebody. I must admit there isn't much choice anymore. Seems they all want to spread their appeal to all by their lying and promising something for everybody. Remember Pat Paulson? Couldnt be any worse than what we have running now--on EITHER ticket! Oh by the way---I'm 56. Matt. 24:44
-- hoot gibson (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 19, 2000.
We live in a little town in NH, and would be glad to attend the town meetings, but they have them on Wednesday evenings and we go to church on Wednesday evenings. Yes, I care about what is going on, and I vote in every election -- my daughters voted with absentee ballots when they were away at college, because they cared, too. But God comes first -- I'm not going to give up church to go to a meeting. And Sonda, I believe you, because from everything I've heard, the same kinds of thigs go on here, too! People who try to change things are slandered (we have some friends who have been very active in trying to fix the corruption problems at the local level) and put down because they are "newcomers". We had a thread a while ago about how people shouldn't come into a community and try to change things, and that is true, but these people were just trying to get some accountability in the local government, not turn things on their head. And, John, I'm only 43!!
-- Kathleen Sanderson (email@example.com), July 19, 2000.
It is not that I don't care (I vote, but I do not pound the pavements or attend meetings etc), but I am a child of Viet Nam, Watergate and the Reaganite destruction of all of FDR's work, thus I do not feel that I can be effective in changing things. I am disinfranchised by my own disillusionment. But I do know what is going on: a greater share of the world's wealth is being concentrated in the pockets of a very few people, and the rest (including tirades against Evil Big Govt) is all the sideshow to keep everybody distracted.
-- snoozy (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 20, 2000.
I almost never vote, Not into politics. Husband is a rabid constitutionalst and votes every time.
-- kathy h (email@example.com), July 20, 2000.
In inverse order: 1. Kathy: get involved. Your ideas may be the best, and if no one hears them we all lose. I'm sure your husband will agree. 2. Snoozy - wake up! Are you saying you LIKE big government? If so, why? Do you get welfare or food stamps? Be honest! 3. Sonda, where in Hell are you, and I think I may be geographically correct. GL to all! (I'm a Libertarian!)
-- Brad (Homefixer@SacoRiver.net), July 20, 2000.
You are right. So long as we are comfortable ,en masse, we don't care. I know what is going on. There is a little that I can do to change it and I do what I can. I have ZERO interest in holding a public office. It seems to be much more of a self importance issue here. If your family hasn't been here for 20 years or you don't bring in a million dollar per year business, there is ZERO interest in your statements or thoughts on any given subject. In this county 3 people voted Libertarian for the last Presidential election.
I talked to THEE newspaper man about the fact that at the last school board trustees meeting they decided to decrease the homestead exemption by 10% and increase their pay by 3%, his reply was something like "Well, it's a thankless job for the most part and we should be happy they care enough to do it." He was right in line with everyone else I spoke to about it. Not very encouaraging.
Most people don't care so long as they aren't directly affected to a great degree. We even have a SWAT team in this little burg now, and the police are dressing in a much more militaristic fashion over the last two years.
I put up a green house on my property and came home to find cowboy footprints around my property.... I don't wear cowboy boots and the meter readers don't wear cowboy boots either. The DPS officers do, however. I think they were impressed with the progress of my tomato plants, but where is the warrant????
For the record, I am 35. I have voted in every election except one local where I was unexpectedly out of town and couldn't. I also saw the results for the last major House and Senate elections aired before the polls closed on ABC. I don't trust the system as it stands anymore and I don't think that people can be marshalled into caring without a train being poised to haul them away anymore.
Yep, I am disillusioned. I wish I could recapture the sense that we can make a difference just by checking a ballot box, but I just don't see it happening on a regular basis anymore. There is a lot of election fraud going on and it won't even be addressed, because as you said, we don't care.
-- Doreen (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 20, 2000.
Brad--You assume money is the only motivation in someone you think you disagree with. Take a trip to Somalia or the Balkans to see the power of "small govt", but meanwhile, enjoy your sideshow! Me, I've got better things to do.
-- snoozy (email@example.com), July 21, 2000.
In our state until recently every county still had 2 elected part-time constables even though those duties are now covered by county sheriff dept. The kicker that got our legislature to eliminate these offices was people were qualifying and winning election for 4 years with 5 or 6 votes so that they could draw a state paycheck of $75 per month. I wonder how many other states have "gravy jobs" like that still on the books.
-- Jay Blair (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 24, 2000.