Electoral Diatribe

So I know, considering the last election cycle - especially the city elections, I was all gung-ho and loud-mouthed. This time, not so much.

If there is one thing I have learned in my years of following politics, its the simple fact that regardless of who is in power where - things really don't change much. It takes a heck of a lot to truly affect change in this country.

Perfect example, the Clinton administration. History will judge the legacy, but facts show that overall - the actual legislation and policies effected during the Clinton era were minimally effective. What was far more effective, and this will not be recorded in anything but popular psychology journals, was the mental factor of the age.

The Internet was riding high on a wave of investing, developing, and euphoria as it was taken with its own successes. The latest revolution in finances was something called "e-trading", which enabled people to act as their own brokers for the stock market. Never before had so many people realized so much money by producing nearly nothing.

It all looked great on paper. And those "on paper" figures are exactly what held the attention of the public. The real books were hidden along with the Enron books in some deep dark vault. And when they finally came to light - things were not so rosy, but still the optimistic attitude continued on, and while some people lost it all - many gained more. Enough to inflate every market - from homes and land, to internet real estate and domain names.

The mindset is more important than the deeds or words of any single politician.

What has changed this election? The mindset of America is polarized, for the moment. On one side you have those who worry, fret, and grumble about the situation in Iraq. On the other, you have those who realize there is little to do here for those serving other than support them, and attempt to make this a place they will be proud to come home to.

One side believes that day to day life is less important than the big picture, while the other believes the big picture is only realized through day to day life.

It's more an election of thought than of reason, as most are historically. No one has ever been elected on a platform of raising taxes - they have been, however, elected based on promises of more frequent garbage pick-ups, more officers patrolling the streets, better incentives for large businesses to move to the area. But the unspoken pot these things are all paid out of is taxes. Weather from you or a corporation, taxes foot the bill for all the public service things you and your neighbors desire.

Using Roanoke as an example, the real estate taxes on the HQ most likely could pay for 2 police officers to patrol for 2 days in a car. Combine the taxes paid by all the neighbors, and you might have enough to cover a murder investigation. The garbage collection for the entire street might be paid for by 4 houses, but the actual labor costs/fuel/upkeep cost probably another 2-3 houses worth of taxes. And I'm talking that yearly total taxes, not the quarterly amount.

That should be the crux of an election, but instead - we get distracted by the novel and salacious. The point is, we pay more attention to that stuff because that sets the tone for our attitudes about life. If someone gets elected, for example, that has no ties to public service other than marrying into the right family - but they are attractive and say the right things to make us think that everything is just as we want it.

But if someone comes from a solid background in service, but talks about the need for more money to fill the public coffers and provide the services needed to make a city run - it's dead certain that you lose.

So this election, it doesn't interest me. Besides - it's only a few years before the next one, when "OH NOES!!!" things may change yet again.

What I have my eye on is the local election cycle. The Overlord awaits.

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