Loose Ends: Politics of small-town politicking

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Dolly Viscardi
Small-town politics never change. Even in the years before the town was established relationships between area residents went up and down with the issues of the day. Looking back at history it is important to note that one of the newspaper’s seasonal editorial columns from 125 years ago talks about being tired of politics. Seasonal activities mentioned were haying and swapping ponies with the Utes, and more importantly a mention of all the time and energy wasted talking politics before the November elections.
Apparently, the modern-day information glut resulting from the changes in communication and our reliance on radio, television, and the Internet isn’t the problem, it is human nature. Even with the best intentions, politically active townsfolk can’t help themselves. What starts out to be a casual conversation ends up as a debate. Once someone has chosen to follow the political party that lines up with one’s beliefs, it is open season on those who remain undecided. Every opportunity that presents itself does not go unnoticed, as affecting a change is addictive and the feeling of power that accompanies it leads one to continually pester others to follow the same path.
Read the history of this area and soon you will hear the voices of the pioneers arguing about such things as where the town should be sited. Politics is murky and the decisions made often questionable. It is difficult enough to get along with one’s neighbors and friends without throwing in opinions of how to conduct government business. It makes for uneasy relationships.
The current gubernatorial race illustrates some of the problems voters face at the ballot box each election. Reminiscent of playground politics, with a heavy dose of name calling, the Republican candidates can’t resist throwing down the old “nah nah nah nah nah” gauntlet mid-debate. One astute political observer recently noted that all of the accusations and shenanigans serve a much bigger purpose than helping voters determine the stance of each candidate. They simply determine who feels they are the most powerful. Enough already. This is one fall tradition we can all do without.