Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Civic Duty

Tonight I attended a "get to know the candidates" forum for the position of Village Trustee in my new community. Now that I'm out of graduate school, I feel this sudden urge to shuck off the last vestiges of my cocoon and spread my wings. I'll leave it to you to decide whether a community meeting was the best venue for this...

My thoughts upon returning from the meeting:

1. It's interesting to observe status differences emerging in a room with a high proportion of Ph.D.s in attendance. It's somewhat like grad school, but surprisingly, fewer people seemed to be flaunting their intelligence. There was also a good deal of talk about specific status characteristics by the candidates, for those of you up on the SCT literature.

2. I fail to understand how the two "parties" differ.* It appears that everyone is for handicap accessibility, "open" government (whatever that means), implementing a planning committee, fiscal responsibility, etc., etc. What they did NOT mention was how their plan was different from the other guys, but I suspect that's because the plans are not all that different.

3. Re. 2: Which means that this election will probably end up a popularity contest by default. I don't think any of the people running want it to turn out this way (they all seem to genuinely care about the community), but there was little differentiation over the substantive issues. In this particular popularity contest, the vote will come down to the ex-Wall Street guy, amusing retiree, and "stay-at-home mom" (who is so involved in the community I doubt she has much time at home) in one party and the woman who walks/jogs in the neighborhood wearing a jester hat, the woman with a cold who did a good job convincing me she's qualified (especially once she recovers from said cold), and the college professor who is probably a great lecturer, but who should put on a different hat when talking to a group of her peers in the other.

I'm not exactly sure how to decide on this. I would welcome suggestions, but right now the jester hat is honestly in the lead.**

*Parties appears in quotes above because the two parties in our village are new to me: the Community Party and the Open Government Party. Both sound pretty good, hunh? I like community (I am a sociologist after all), and I like open government (it's much preferable to that dodgy closed government that we all can't abide). Give me Democrat and Republican - it's SO much easier to navigate. I'd even be content with Green and Independent.
**The jester hat is really cool - she brought it for show and tell. Each section is a different color and it looks like it's made out of felt. WAY neato.

1 comment:

s said...

well, i'm dying to find out how it all comes out.