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You're with < HIM >
Author: TriSec    Date: 10/24/2015 11:31:30

Good Morning.

It’s been a busy week on the election front. I was out and about last weekend passing out fliers and talking to people about my candidacy. Wednesday evening, I was in the front row at the “Councilor-at-Large” candidate’s forum, which is always a surreal experience for me. The way Waltham politics is, the people seeking election or re-election tend to be the same, and I know them all – in some cases quite well.

Of course, I was a little irritated to learn that all the Ward Counselors were running unopposed. This is where I have a disconnect – I only know a couple of the district councilors, of course my own, and the handful I know through other resources (mostly Scouting.)

There are 8 candidates vying for 6 At-Large seats on the council. One candidate didn’t show up, so he has been immediately discounted, IMHO. One of the veterans was distracted and indifferent, and was otherwise a negative presence on the dais. But 6 out of 7 present shared a common bond – everyone was upbeat, polite, and had generally similar visions of the future of this city. Any or all of them would be a pleasure to work with should I have that privilege.

On Thursday evening, I again returned to Government Center, this time for the long awaited Mayor’s forum. This is a hotly-contested affair this year, with a 12-year incumbent facing off against a City Councilor who happens to be the son of a beloved former Mayor. There are strong loyalist camps on both sides.

But curiously…I’m not in either one of those camps right now. I am playing my cards close to the vest this election cycle. I’m friendly with the sitting mayor. She’s been a great friend to Scouts for all the years I’ve been here, and as I commented to Mrs. TriSec the other night, “I could pick up the phone right now and say Mayor McCarthy, I need you Saturday morning for a scout event”, and she would be there. But then I’ve known the challenger since we moved into this city – our kids went to the same school, and I first met him as a parent before I even knew who he was politically. But I’m also pragmatic – this city has many problems, and no matter what the Mayor does for me personally, I know that doesn’t run the city. So infer from that what you will.

In any case, I put on a suit and walked downtown for the big show. On my way in, I noted some older ladies struggling up the stairs, and paused to hold the door and even offered some assistance to the lady on the stairs. (Yeah, you know what uniform I wear.) Imagine my astonishment when she waved me off and said “I don’t need any help, you’re with Stanley”. The lady at the top of the stairs sneered at me “I’m not voting for you because you’re with HIM”. Which I find curious - I have not publicly come out for one candidate over the other. They must have seen me stop to talk to a few of the Stanley sign-holders outside the forum.

I know politics is a dirty business. I know it can be brutal and personal. But have we sunk so far that even common courtesy is politically charged now? I didn’t actually let this bother me, since I know how the game is played. But here in my private refuge….yeah, this wears on me a bit.

Waltham is facing many challenges…I don’t know if the incumbent mayor has it in her to persevere and solve them. I don’t know how much of the challenger’s rhetoric is driven by fact, or how much is driven by political talking points to win an election.

But it sure is interesting to see how much like national politics our local battle in this city of 80,000 has become. Perhaps it's a symptom of the greater issue - politics in Washington is so divisive, so poisoned, and is so much "I, me, mine" that there is no longer any sense of community or common good. How unfortunate that attitude seems to be permeating all levels of politics in the United States.

2 comments (Latest Comment: 10/25/2015 13:18:55 by velveeta jones)
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