Monday, February 8, 2010

2010: A New Odyssey

Don’t send out the St. Bernard…I’m still alive. After intentionally burning my candle at both ends and anywhere else it would burn, I have purposely simplified my life for 2010.

I’ve intentionally refrained from offering much unsolicited comment since the election. That’s mostly a result of some personal circumstances that dictate my energies be directed elsewhere, but also from a desire to reenergize myself after the exhausting demands of last year’s campaign. Additionally, I thought I’d try to avoid criticizing the new administration while they rolled out their vision for town affairs. However, I’m not particularly pleased about most of what they’ve unveiled and implemented so far. It appears it’s business as usual – where politics, favors, and rhetoric continue to rule the day.

Eventually I’ll post the final installment to my election analysis, but lately I’ve been contemplating the best path forward for independent politics. Current election law makes the scenario of duplicating our local effort very challenging if not unlikely. The No New Tax Party (basically Rotterdam’s version of the Tea Party) was a ballot line that ceased to exist the day after the election. To keep it or any other independent ballot line alive in coming elections will require a level of unparalleled motivation and commitment to collect the necessary signatures. It is a daunting task and the effort required is incomprehensible to anyone that hasn’t tried to do it.

As far as the local effort is concerned, these are among what I consider to be the key elements going forward:

  • What individual will lead this effort?

  • Is this individual capable of mustering the necessary manpower?

  • Can he motivate enough voters?

  • Does he have the courage of his convictions?

  • Is he knowledgeable on the specific local issues that face us?

  • Does he have a plan for addressing those issues beyond the rhetoric?

These questions can be asked equally about any candidate but they become particularly important when looking for that elusive alternative…otherwise, why even go through the trouble of creating an alternative? I will be curious to see if a local independent line gets created again for this or any other election, or will “independent” hopefuls simply seek the path of least resistance and operate within the entrenched two-party system?

The answer to that question may be reflected in what has been going on nationally. Last week, Tea Party Nation organized a controversial tea party convention that in my opinion was not reflective of the grass root intentions of the majority of tea party participants. From the questionable motivations of the event organizer to the role of Sarah Palin, the convention seemed to be a perverted version of real tea party sentiment.

My friend at Poli-Tea has numerous worthwhile commentaries and analysis on the relationship of independent politics and the two-party system. The links below are to a few of his more recent posts that I found interesting and I hope you’ll explore them too.

On the Inevitable Failure of Strategic Infiltration, or, the Degeneration of Tea Party Activists into Petty Party Functionaries

All Jokes are Half Truths and the Joke is on You: if You Support Democrats or Republicans, You are the Problem

Already Dead: the Democratic-Republican Partisan Paradigm in the Age of the Independent Voter

Pretend-ependents and the Tea Party Movement

Tea Party Revolution Suffers Defeat at the Hands of Red-Coated Loyalists to the Two-Party State, Some Carry On the Work of Real Opposition