It’s a new decade, and the city is gearing up for another tough economic year. State funding is dwindling. And so are taxes, cause everybody’s pretty much flat broke. So begins the mad scramble for budget dollars. Straight everybody needs something. Everybody wants something. Everybody’s got a vision.
On account of the new year, and on account of the fact that city business sort of went on mental hiatus during a large chunk of the month of December, this week has been a flurry of city meetings. It’s 3:30 on Wednesday and I’m already bone tired. I’m heading home to nap before the next round of back and forth at a city council meeting tonight. Man. I’ve spent so many hours sitting on folding chairs and listening to people talk about zoning and ordinances and growth plans that my eyes are starting to cross.
And I’ve noticed something. I’m no expert, but it seems like maybe politics, and indeed, the whole democratic process, is really not a whole lot more than a series of tiny and not-so-tiny standoffs. And in the end, most decisions seem to favor the stubbornest person in the room. Not the most eloquent, or the most educated, or the most pragmatic. The most stubborn. The person who can argue the loudest and the longest, until everyone else is checking their watches and rubbing their hairlines and nodding their heads “Fine, alright.”
You’re in a hurry? You’re hungry? You’re tired of arguing? Consider yourself outgunned.
I’m not saying it’s anyone’s fault. I’m not saying that a good number of politicians don’t genuinely have a stake in their communities and want, on a deep and profound level, to do good, to be good. In fact, I’m saying the opposite. Because, Christ! Those jobs are tough. And a lot of them are no-pay! At a certain point, it becomes a feat of endurance more than anything else. Weird.
The title of this post was supposed to be a joke, by the way. Get it?