OPINION – The prediction is that a fair chunk of voters will hit the polls today in this off-off-year election.
I don’t know if it will fall that way or not. Usually, the turnout for these municipal elections is significantly lower than the presidential elections and smaller than the midterms. We’ll just have to see.
The question is, even though there are a couple of places where voters will elect a new mayor, and the incumbent in St. George faces, perhaps, his stiffest challenge in some time, is change really in the making?
In one nearby community, a mayoral candidate has been getting flak for never having served on the city council. But, the candidate made it through the primaries, so, obviously, has touched some minds.
Then there was the messy business here in St. George where a seated member of the Utah Legislature blasted a city council candidate. The statement was clearly a result of a conflict of interest on the part of the legislative member who represents a company involved in the long-standing beef about ambulance and EMT service in the city. Of course, it wasn’t the first time this guy showed poor judgment. He once made a lame run against Sen. Orrin Hatch, an institution in Utah, and was slapped down; and when Jon Huntsman Jr. was elected governor, this guy was part of a group of longtime legislators who promised to whip the neophyte governor – arguably Utah’s best since Scott Matheson – into their line of thinking.
By the way, it didn’t work as Huntsman went on to do a magnificent job as governor and continues to impress me with his willingness to listen, his innovative countenance, and his decency quotient, which outranks every politician I have ever encountered. Yeah, I realize that an endorsement from me for a Republican is undoubtedly the kiss of death, but I respect the man immensely, holding him in the highest regard because he is a reasonable, honest man, not to mention a kind-hearted individual.
In fact, the last time he ran was the last time I didn’t hold my nose before punching a ballot in a state election.
Appropriately, as I write this, The Who’s “Won’t Be Fooled Again,” with the caustic line “meet the new boss … same as the old boss” just came on in the background.
Fitting, I’d say.
Some time ago, I knew somebody who wanted to run for office, but didn’t.
When I asked why, I was told: “I talked to my dad about it and he said he wouldn’t vote for me because it’s not my turn.”
I was shocked.
Well, at least a little bit.
I’m really not sure how that works, to be honest, how the voters can determine when it’s somebody else’s “turn” to be elected. I always thought it was about where somebody stood on the issues, what their vision was, what they planned to do to make things better because, in reality, it can always be better.
For many years, I sat in on interviews with candidates seeking a newspaper endorsement. There was always talk about change, transparency in government, new ideas. I have yet to see it transpire, just as I have yet to see the political minority represented by Utah’s elected officials. It just doesn’t happen here.
Of course, it’s the same in other places where political philosophy is firmly entrenched. Wyoming, Idaho, and Oklahoma come to mind immediately.
Is it fair?
Is it within the spirit of our democratic process?
Heaven’s no. Remember, to the victor go the spoils.
In most of these local elections, I see little difference between the candidates. They all seem cut from the same cloth, with the same positions and same influences.
In the instances where an incumbent is being challenged, it will be interesting to see if the voting public has determined it is “somebody else’s turn” or to continue along the same path.
Pete Townshend’s brilliant lyrics to “Won’t Get Fooled Again” advise that, in his words, we should “expect nothing and you might gain everything.” At least that’s what he said the song was about.
There is, of course, a certain sensibility to that, which cannot be denied under the right circumstances.
These circumstances, however, do not lend themselves to that outcome, especially when the only options are “conservative” and “more conservative” and many will vote out of consideration of whose “turn” it is to govern.
But, it does lend credence to the old saying that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
Meet the new boss?
No thanks, I’ve already met the old boss.
And I guarantee that come tomorrow morning, there’ll be nothing in the street that looks any different to me.
No bad days!
Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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