01 November 2010

Politics As (Un)Usual

If you haven't read it, take a look at My previous post. Make a note of it. I'll be referring to it again soon.

A little over a month ago I saw a campaign poster for a local candidate, running for mayor. He wants to dethrone the current mayoress, a woman with the visual charm and accomplishments of a drunken train wreck. You might wonder why I bring this up, seeing as there are elections in the U.S. of part of A. tomorrow.

Well, We don't have elections until 2012. And two years is a damn long time.

I should be used to it, having arrived here in the summer of 1972 in full campaign season. I remember an evening in Orocovis where two political caravans, each loaded with dozens of cars and hundreds of blowhards, met down the only big street the little central mountain town had--birthplace of My father--and created a raucous, blaring, overwhelming, nauseating traffic jam-barrage of car horns, shrieks, exhaust and so-called music that made Me sick. Literally. I spent the rest of the night throwing up and wondering if My head was going to fall off into the toilet.

Almost four decades later and My aversion to politics and political campaigns continues. In 2008, I walked the streets of Cabo Rojo as the election results came in and noticed there was more energy and passion placed in celebrating victories than in actually doing anything in the campaign outside of dissing the opposition. People were jumping and shouting, many racing to winner headquarters for their expected reward--or promise of one. The happy grins included Me until I didn't respond, at which point I was dismissed as having supported a loser and thus of no consequence. No matter. Political campaigns bore Me and I pay them very little mind.


Last Thursday, a gentleman I met a few years and who asked for My help in setting up an antique car show, called Me before 9:00 a.m. He told Me his sister--who I helped with a medical claim within the U.S. Postal Service--had received her due and was happy. Then he said he was working with a guy who wanted to run against the mayoress in the primary, that the guy would win, and that I could be a valuable resource to this guy. Would I like to meet him? That day?

Primaries will be in late 2011 or early 2012. I had some stuff on My day's agenda. I said yes.

We met for lunch at a local restaurant and the glad-handing was out in full force as candidate and pseudo-frontman were greeting and meeting like the election was a week away. Except Me. I barely got a glance. Maybe the glad-handing is all the time, but it never includes Me. No reason to.

I got some background on the candidate and he told Me his basic pitch. I gave him Mine: I get paid for My work and nothing else. I get no jobs in the Municipality, I do no favors and I ask for none, for anybody. I do no campaigning or public work except writing. And I don't have to agree with the candidate, but as long as I see honest work for the town's progress, I stay. The guy gave Me a long appraising look and said yes.

Later on, over dominoes, it seemed to help a great deal that one of his grandkids came over and started talking to me about basketball and the current league's season. The man said his grandson never spoke to anyone as easily as he did to Me and that simple act impressed him a great deal. I've known the boy a little for 2 years and...well, his team did eliminate Mine in the current league.

So where am I with this? Don't know. We discussed a few general ideas as We pasted Our opponents in dominoes (don't care to play it, but I hate to lose at anything) and found Our viewpoints to be compatible. What that leads to, Time will tell. My prediction is that I will present several good ideas, hear a couple in return and as the campaign heats up and things start rolling into chaos, I'll simply stop being an active contributor and become a distant advisor, a troubleshooter with specialized knowledge.

But one thing is clear to Me: I'm trying something new because I have to give Myself the chance. In the best case, I can become an active agent of change; in the worst, I piss off a few people I don't care about. Somewhere between those two extremes, there's ample margin to carve a niche I can make a difference with. That is the seductive lure of this dirtiest of games, the one where no one wins.

Since I've made My case clear that I don't care for a government job or to become a broker for political favors, I have eliminated the two major hooks for getting caught up in politics. And as plenty who know Me are aware, My penchant for showing how much of a smartass I can be in the presence of pomposity and idiocy makes Me useless as a seeker of public repute in a political context. I want to piss certain people off and they roam in herds within politics. If the choice boils down to whether I should shut up and let it slide to benefit My plans or speak out and the hell with the whole shebang, I know exactly what I'll choose; I often have already. That might mean that My efforts are doomed to fail, that it's simply a matter of time before I let fly and damn the consequences. Agreed. But even a small effort could lead to decent results down the road. It has before, far from Me so that no proper credit could accrue. Politics.

However. Once again, and in a different way, I think it's worth the effort...but once again, for as long as it remains aimed at progress and not politics.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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