Polls opened in Volusia County’s 2022 primary election about an hour ago.
I wrote a version of this blog post back in 2016 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 – some very accomplished people – go bat shit crazy with fear, failing self-confidence, and false hubris.
Like Dr. Thompson so eloquently said, “That is the nature of professional politics. Many are called, but few survive the nut-cutting hour…”
This evening 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 dilettante’s whose message rang hollow – will soon be forgotten.
And their lame 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 weekend, 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 2022.
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 and shining moment, puts the power back in our hands.
Now, I realize that much of the process has been manipulated well in advance – with local power brokers showering 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 six-years ago and nothing has changed. . .)
As I slowed to navigate the phalanx of cheap nylon tents and lawn chairs occupied by perspiring candidates and their supporters, I saw cliques wearing campaign t-shirts like battledress, sucking on water bottles and staking out territory at what must mark the ragged edge of 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 voter’s 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.
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 – 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 recycled sewage (that’s not fearmongering, its fact) – and sit in gridlock traffic while they throw up even more zero-lot-line cracker boxes in “lifestyle communities” and monstrous “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 “boom cycle” in the pine scrub – and, so long as all the right facilitators are in place – it will not end until everyone who is anyone has gorged at the gravy train.
I do not make a lot of political endorsements on this blog site.
Naturally, I assume that as a fellow informed voter 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.
In my view, the bedrock principle of our American democracy – that all power is derived from the consent of the governed – is rooted in the conduct of fair elections, the idea of “one citizen, one vote,” that purely American concept of political egalitarianism.
And votes beat money. Every time.
Unfortunately, far too many Volusia County residents have fallen victim to the malignancy of political apathy – that feeling of disinterest and indifference born of having the rug pulled out from underneath them one too many times – the sense that their vote doesn’t count, or their collective voice can be silenced if their decision at the ballot box goes against what the entrenched ‘ruling class’ wants.
And the abject ugliness of the political battlefield thus far has turned many good people off.
But the stakes are incredibly high.
This election year is a time for new beginnings and a restoration of public confidence in our system of governance.
That fundamental change begins with those we elevate to higher office.
Regardless of which candidate you support – please vote today.
Vote like your family’s quality of life depends upon it.
Because it does.
For more information, please go to www.volusiaelections.gov