I wrote a version of this blog post four years ago, on the cusp of another important primary, and the maxim still holds true:
Politics is not just about elections.
It can seem that way, especially now, during the final few hours before the primary when local candidates – many of whom are under real pressure for the first time in their lives – go bat-shit crazy with fear, failing self-confidence and false hubris.
Like Dr. Thompson said so eloquently, “That is the nature of professional politics. Many are called, but few survive the nut-cutting hour…”
Tomorrow, the die will be cast, and the field whittled down to the true players; the Big Dogs who are moving to the general.
The also-rans – the fringe candidates and political dilettantes – will soon be forgotten.
Their hollow excuses to those who financially and philosophically supported them will fall on deaf ears.
No one will care.
Some candidates may win outright – taking 51% of the vote – while other races will remain close.
Alliances will shift overnight, and things will take a decidedly serious turn as campaigns gear up for the Big Dance in November.
Last Sunday, I took a leisurely drive down to the Ormond Beach Public Library to “early vote.”
The most direct route from our home takes me along the west bank of the beautiful Halifax river, and as I drove along enjoying the view on a late summer morning, I smoked a Marlboro and contemplated what I was about to accomplish at the midpoint of what passes for our political process in 2020.
Casting a vote remains the most sacred obligation of American citizens.
In my view, participating in our democratic process reaffirms our commitment to freedom and the idea of government, “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” and for one brief shining moment, puts the power back in our hands.
Now, I realize that much of the process has been manipulated well in advance – with the two party monopoly having gerrymandered the process in their respective favor – while local power brokers shower the campaign coffers of hand-select candidates with massive contributions that skew the playing field for those willing to sell their political soul to protect the status quo.
As I turned the corner to the library, I saw that the parking area was virtually awash in campaign signs, each blending into the other to form a kaleidoscope of bright colors and shapes that encircled the entire lot like an impenetrable blockade.
So many campaign signs in such tight confines that the individual messages became meaningless.
I wrote that line in 2016 – and nothing has changed. . .
I slowed and navigated the phalanx of cheap nylon tents and lawn chairs occupied by perspiring candidates and their supporters, each wearing campaign t-shirts like battledress, sucking on water bottles, and staking out territory at what must be the ragged edge of the solicitation restrictions.
I assume they were acting out of some desperate belief that their very proximity to the door could sway a vote or two.
As I exited the Lone Eagle and began walking toward the door, I saw an “operative” circling behind me, calling out, “Hey, buddy! I saw your Military Police bumper sticker – I was an MP, too! Would you like a voters guide?” while extending a glossy brochure in my direction. . .
As a confirmed “No Party Affiliate,” and an informed voter, I don’t need some pre-marked Republican or Democrat “guide” to know which candidates I support.
I can make up my own mind.
And, so can you.
Let what passes for the local “leadership” of the two major political parties bicker and bitch over the petty squabbles and hyper-dramatic skirmishes that those who get entrenched in partisan politics seem to live for.
By now, we know where the candidates stand on the issues important to our lives and livelihoods.
So, I waved off my new “buddy” and entered the library where the superb staff of Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Lisa Lewis’ made for a flawless experience – and I was in-and-out in less than ten-minutes!
As I drove away from the polling place, I thought about what this election means for our future, and the dire consequences that hang in the balance.
Many have come to the realization that our quality of life here on Florida’s Fun Coast is under siege by greed-heads and others who would see us drink our own sewage – and sit in gridlock traffic while they throw up even more cracker boxes in “lifestyle communities” and “cities within a city” – while the unbridled sprawl of one community begins to impact its neighbors.
It has become the Wild West, a gold rush in the pine scrub – and, so long as all the right facilitators are in place – it will not end until everyone who is anyone is fat and happy.
I do not make a lot of political endorsements on this blog site.
Naturally, I assume that most of you can make up your own mind on the issues of the day – and determine which candidate best matches your personal vision for our future in keeping with the needs of your family.
I have made an exception in the Volusia County Chair race between Jeff “Plan B” Brower and Dishonest Deb Denys.
Look, I know that all races on the ballot are important; however, in my view, the contest for Volusia County Chair will have a lasting impact on our collective quality of life for years to come.
It is a match between two diametrically opposed philosophies – the difference between substantive change in Volusia County’s fiscal, environmental and civic policies – and the stagnant status quo – which always places the wants of uber-wealthy insiders over the needs of many.
As for me and mine – I plan to stand firm in my conviction that clean water, greenspace, wildlife and natural places are more important to the lives of our children and grandchildren than the overstuffed pocketbooks of uber-wealthy land speculators and the sutlers who make their living on the crumbs left in their wake.
Always more, more, more – while our clueless elected leadership continues full speed ahead with no thought (or plan) for keeping our transportation and utilities infrastructure on pace with out-of-control development from Farmton to the Flagler County line.
I believe it is time We, The Little People, elect strong, ethical leadership who will stop the abuse, neglect and unfair manipulation of the marketplace that has become a malignancy on many areas of the Fun Coast and left thousands of Volusia County families living at or below the poverty level.
In my view, Jeff Brower represents the passion and positive change we desperately need in Volusia County.
Clearly, Jeff Brower can’t be bought.
He has worked diligently to identify waste and mismanagement in County government, and has served as a tireless advocate for accountability, responsive representation, and the environmental protections we so desperately deserve.
I also admire his active volunteerism and commitment to preserving our unique heritage of beach driving and access.
Most important, Jeff Brower knows that character counts.
I believe his impressive dedication to the highest ideals of the public service – ethical leadership, accessibility, and fairness – will serve the best interests of ALL citizens of Volusia County.
I strongly urge you to vote for Jeff Brower tomorrow, and support his bright vision of returning government to the people of Volusia County, Florida.