Philippe Thibault – 7.23
“All politics is local” is most strongly associated with former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tip O’Neill. There would still be national issues that would spark conversation at the local coffee shop and diner. These were discussions between friends and colleagues that may not agree politically but were bound by a sense of community and friendship. What happened? Politics is so divisive these days and it is not only on an academic level of disagreement. It is visceral.
Nationally, the major political parties are all jockeying for position with their brand of “gotcha” campaigning. I am not so naïve to think this division has never existed before in national politics.
There are stories in history books relating tales of rumor mills that one or another politician was consorting with the devil. I even heard of the Lyndon Johnson campaign looking to spread a rumor about an opponent practicing bestiality. And when a staffer confronted Johnson about the validity of the claim, he responded, “I know it is not true. I just want to hear him (opponent) deny it.” I cannot verify the validity of that incident.
Dracut has a reputation of politics as “blood sport.” This is a claim that I often refute. I wish it were just politics. Politics by my definition would be that disagreements would be hard fought for by their advocates of all sides and a compromise reached.
Oddly when both sides are unhappy with a decision, the best outcome is crafted. Politics would have these combatants remaining respectful of each other and at times enjoying each other’s company. Even socializing with one another and taking interest in personal activities and family. In Dracut it is never politics, it is personal. I have run for office previously and unsuccessfully.
I am reminded of that at every turn by Brian Genest. You would have to ask him what objection to my participation in local government is. Strangely I have never seen his participation locally. While he participates in the Dracut Republican Town Committee, that is an extension of party politics on the national level. At best Brian Genest plays the role of a contrarian Monday morning quarterback claiming prophetical sage wisdom at predicting the past events. Shooting the arrow and then drawing the target.
It is men like this who know that where there is chaos there is profit. The best way to control thought is to make sure it is not focused on critical issues. So, we have the loss of local politics.
I bet every local politician running for office or canvasing their constituents for feedback on a neighborhood matter has needed to field the question about party affiliation or who they voted for President in the last election. Not to say the Presidential election is not important for the country, but the local influence on that election is less than a match on a conflagration. But we are willing to let that rule our opinions at the local level.
In Dracut in the last municipal election my vote was one of six hundred and three. My vote in the presidential election on the popular vote is one of over two hundred million. You tell me where my vote was more influential.
And this is w/here the power really is held, at the local level. We have some politicians who know how to game the system to benefit their family and friends. I do not begrudge someone as Benjamin Franklin said, “does well by doing good.” An ethical politician will know where those lines are and stay far from those borders as they can.
Our leaders’ first task should be to enable the citizens to govern themselves. This can only be accomplished by ensuring the citizens are connected to one another rather than connected with the government. Citizens should likewise demand everyone be treated equally and fairly, most of which, those we disagree with. Put away the “what if-isms” that are used to divide and separate people.
We as a nation, state and city or town should look past the politics of segregation and be indivisible. ◊