In all the fuss this summer, I’ve forgotten to brag about the fact that I’m totally unopposed in my run for the position on the Albion Town Council. Apparently the opposition is quaking in their boots, for those who wear boots, or have at least come to understand the futility of challenging my overwhelming political machine.
Or, possibly, they just forgot me.
I’d like to think most people in Albion are more or less satisfied with the way things have been going – or at least, satisfied that we’ve been doing the best we can, even if everything’s not going the way we’d prefer. It’s like me doing plumbing work: Sure, the basement may flood, but you’ve got to give me credit for doing my best. (On a related note, some politicians cause less damage doing nothing than doing something, depending on what the something is. I call this Hunter’s Law of Indiana State Legislatures.)
Whatever the reason, none of the three Council members up for election were opposed in the primary, and the other side didn’t field any candidates at all. The fact that we’re all registered Republicans is, I think, a non-issue; on a local level politics are about people and issues, not parties. Besides, the way things have been going you’d think this would be the year for Democrats to dominate; why didn’t they ship some people in from, say, Chicago, and get them a residency?
I suspect that if it wasn’t for Indiana’s requirement that you must registered Republican or Democrat to vote in the primary, most Hoosiers would count themselves independent at this point. While we tend to be conservative here, we’re getting sick of the divisiveness, and moderates are plotting a takeover even as we speak. I don’t think I was supposed to mention that.
But I digress. My point – let me check my notes – is that I’m bothered by the fact that I have no opposition. That may seem odd: After all, I don’t have to spend any campaign money this time, do I?
Oh, wait – I didn’t spend any campaign money last time. Furthermore, I don’t have any campaign money. The argument could be made that I have an unfair advantage, since I get my name out by way of this column; however, since I spend many of my columns making fun of myself, it would be a self-defeating plan.
The thing is, the democratic process requires – wait for it – democracy. Democracy requires people voting, and people voting require someone to vote for. If there’s nobody to vote for, democracy breaks down and my evil plot to rule the world – or at least central Noble County – comes one step closer to fruition. This is the part where I insert evil laughter.
If only one person is on the ballot, how are we any better than some communist country where everyone has to go vote, but they’re only allowed to vote for the Communist party? Suppose I take my victory as a sign that I should pursue my plans for a chocolate tax, the Albion Spaceport, or a nude water park? (I call that last the anti-Taliban plan; women must be completely uncovered at all times.)
It’s one step from there to a 1000% increase in property taxes to fund my heated dome, completely covering Albion in winter, which would certainly help with the nude water park.
And what’s to prevent me from doing this? Competition. I’m not afraid of competition. After all, what would it hurt me if I lost? I’d get more reading time? Yay! The only reason I ran in the first place was that strange, outmoded notion that we all have a duty to serve our community. Who does that anymore?
Well, hardly anyone, apparently.
And who can blame them? Back when the state of Indiana was founded people worked hard, but in general there was only one paid job per household, and the demands on their time were not split to nearly the extent they are today. Now nearly every adult is working one job, some two or three; they go to their kids’ games, volunteer in various organizations, and on those few evenings that are still free they collapse in front of the TV with no desire to think about anything except the newest hairstyles on American Idol.
Sure, there are still people who have lots of free time, but often that’s exactly because they don’t want to get involved … which makes them a poor pool to pull candidates from. A poor people pulling pool.
I don’t plan to run a third time around, and the other day a sudden thought hit me: What if nobody else does, either?
There are certain things that guarantee the fall of a democracy: When representatives buy votes with unlimited spending from the public coffers; when the voters care more about style than substance; and, most important of all, when the people stop getting involved in their own government.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I think we’re doing okay here on the Albion Town Council. We’re not perfect, and we don’t always agree, but we care about the town and its people and we’re doing what we can within the limits of state and federal mandates. Nobody really wants to establish a nude water park. Well, okay -- me, but it died for lack of a second.
It seems to me the only way to really fix this problem is to start at the top: to clean house, talk straight, and bring back confidence in our government and our democratic system. That’s why I’m announcing my run for the 2008 Presidential election.
You heard me straight, pilgrim.
I’m going to make some big changes, and you can bet some people on both sides of the aisle will be running for cover by the time I’m done.
I’m just sorry they’re going to have to find somebody to cover my Town Council position, but don’t worry – once people find out it’s a stepping stone to the Presidency, they’ll be all over it.