“The genetically vicious nature of presidential campaigns in America is too obvious to argue with, but some people call it fun, and I am one of them. Election day – especially when it’s a presidential election – is always a wild and terrifying time for politics junkies, and I am one of those, too. We look forward to major election days like sex addicts look forward to orgies. We are slaves to them.”
–Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
Hello. My name is Mark, and I am a political junkie.
And whenever I look for a clear perspective on politics, I immediately return to the works of Dr. Thompson.
Say what you will about his personal habits – the man had amazing insight into what passes for modern political contests – and the death of the American Dream.
I write this alternative opinion blog to purge my civic and political frustrations – which reach a crescendo at election time – and the fact so many of you find them beneficial in helping form an independent opinion on the issues and candidates is both unexpected and incredibly humbling.
That said, I have no idea how things will shake out tonight.
No one does.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal used their editorial space today to calm our fears (and take a final swipe at the Trump campaign) asking that we “get used to” the fact we may, or may not, see the results of the presidential election tonight.
I believe that’s because many states have compromised the system to permit votes to be counted until they get the results they want.
Its why I focus solely on local politics.
That is where our true fate lies – those we elect to city commissions and the county council – our neighbors who we elevate to high office and entrust in them the power to permit or control growth, spend our hard-earned tax dollars on the infrastructure and essential services that effect our everyday lives, educate our children, police our streets and set the public policies that govern our lives and livelihoods.
In Volusia County, our system of governance has dissolved into something ugly and different – a Turkish bazaar – where a few uber-wealthy power brokers control everything but the ebb and flow of the Atlantic tide through massive campaign contributions to hand-select candidates.
The return on investment is direct access to the nexus of public funds and incentives that ensure the profit motive of private projects – while We, The Little People, are totally ignored, and treated like an annoyance whenever we attempt to participate in our local government.
Unfortunately, Volusia County has been historically plagued by civic apathy.
A feeling among those who struggle mightily to earn a living in this artificial economy, where bought-and-paid-for elected officials tilt the playing field, picking winners and losers in the marketplace with tax supported incentives and giveaways, that they no longer have a chip in the game.
Because they don’t.
It’s worse in places like Palm Coast today, where voters face the frightening dilemma of choosing between an incumbent Mayor many believe used her elective position for personal advantage – or a former Sovereign Citizen with a wacky past who has never voted in an election before. . .
Fortunately, in the Volusia County Chair race, we have a clear choice between the tired status quo – a legalized quid pro quo pay-to-pay system – that always favors the wants and whims of political insiders – while shitting on the dreams of families, many of whom have lived at or below the poverty line for far too long.
That’s why I have so enthusiastically supported the grassroots candidacy of Jeff “Plan B” Brower, someone I believe possesses the vision, integrity and focus to return a citizen-centric government to Volusia County, protect our threatened natural resources, prioritize fiscal responsibility, control unchecked growth, and make good on the tired promise of quality jobs.
To my neighbors and friends, I would like to make a personal appeal.
I ask that you take a moment from your busy lives and careers to reflect quietly on what transparent and accessible local government mean to all of us.
I believe there remains one fundamental mechanism which will allow us to prevail over the insiders and well-heeled donor class that seem intent on taking our lifestyle and heritage away from us and handing it to outside speculators for backdoor personal enrichment:
It is the ultimate power of the ballot box.
We still have a democratic process that allows one person, one vote.
I believe that if enough like-minded citizens hold firm to the basic belief that we can control our destiny by electing strong, ethical, and visionary members of our community to high public office, we can once again balance political power and restore transparency, fairness, and the spirit of democracy in Volusia County government.
If you haven’t already – I am asking you to go to the polls and cast your ballot today.
Take a friend with you. Hell, take two.
Vote like your lives and livelihoods depend upon it.
And, regardless of who is ultimately elected tonight, I promise you I will be here to hold them accountable – without fear or favor – stirring the pot, standing up to the bullies, keeping things equal (and interesting), and ensuring that those who hold themselves out for public office serve our highest and best interests – not the mercenary desires of a few wealthy power brokers who, up to now, have controlled our elections with their checkbook.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our sacred political process – candidates and voters alike.
Now, we wait. . .
Godspeed – and good luck.