It seems a lot of politicians aren’t talking right now, even though fall elections are only a few short weeks away.
I wonder why.
Everywhere political issues are simmering. No doubt, every municipality has its own backlog of niggling issues that raise the ire of coffee shop politicians who like to talk the walk, but have no intention of ever walking the walk.
It’s a shame.
So why are people holding back?
Are they simply procrastinating? Are they afraid? Are they trying to avoid the risk of subjecting themselves to political backbiting and mud slinging and name calling until the last minute?
Are they harboring the secret plan of slipping their papers into the municipal office at the 11th hour thereby being declared ‘acclaimed’ with little or no effort expended.
That seems cowardly.
It is true that politics is a blood sport. This sport really takes off during ‘silly season’ when the slippery planks of political platforms are sometimes nailed together with empty promises, half-truths and unrealistic statements.
It is unfair, however, to tar and feather every councillor or mayor or potential candidate with this mindset.
Most candidates speak the truth, or at least their perception of the truth. Most candidates want to make a difference — they want to see their towns and cities flourish, bring more business to their dying downtowns, keep taxes in line, eliminate potholes and budget plenty of money for snow removal.
They want their towns to be balanced and provide equal recreation and cultural opportunities, plenty of playgrounds for young families, lots of green spaces for everyone, no waiting lists for long term care facilities and an impressive selection of shopping venues.
Realistically, they have no clue how to make this all happen. Many outspoken, opinionated individuals have never darkened a council chamber’s door or even sat on a council related board or committee.
But, ignorance is bliss and it can also be very verbal.
Running for municipal politics or any level of politics, for that matter, is a grave responsibility.
What if you actually get voted in?
What if, after the official results are finally in, you find yourself seated at the big council table with your very own nameplate?
It is then, no doubt, you will begin to discover what it’s like to live in a fish bowl with many eyes curiously watching you as you flounder about in water that is a little deeper than you thought, trying to understand the process, the Municipal Government Act, the rules, the regulation, the protocol.
And it is when you also may discover that ‘transparency’ is overused, overrated and decidedly scary.
It can get you into all kinds of trouble.
And it is then you will, no doubt, discover confrontation is part and parcel of the job you have undertaken. It is true, popularity might have got you in, but it is not to be looked at as a lifeline to help get you out when you are sinking in a muddy mire of dissention and criticism.
Stepping into the political ring is not for the faint hearted, but it certainly is an opportunity for individuals who want to be leaders, activators and decision makers.
Every municipality needs these people.
So where are you?
— On The Other Side