My mind’s been reeling lately, there’s so much happening worldwide, nationally, locally, and personally. It can get to be overwhelming. It doesn’t help that along with rhododendrons, flowering trees, crocuses, and daffodils, campaign signs are springing forth.
Our local primaries will be May 16th. Mark your calendars; and if you aren’t in Pennsylvania, find out when yours are and mark your calendar accordingly. While the nation may seem to be falling apart, we can still show up en masse and voice our opinion locally; because lets face it, the local election results are often what hurt, or help, us first – as they are the elections that determine who will govern and make the local laws, ordinances, and policies that we deal with on a daily, and often, more personal level.
Locally there’s a mayoral race that could get ugly. And like the November election, I’m shocked at how many campaign signs are springing up in support of someone whom I view as not worthy of the title of “Mayor”. This may be one of the few times that I make an effort to contact a campaign and put a sign in our yard – I probably won’t, but the fact that I’m thinking about is says something about the race and how strongly I feel about the candidates. Heck, I might even go to the debates, just to watch the circus – wonder if they’ll sell popcorn (I could pull a Lorelai Gilmore and bring my own*)?
I had been registered as an independent until the last Presidential primaries when I wanted to vote for a major party candidate in the primaries. For that reason I finally picked a party and changed my party affiliation from Independent to Democrat. Right now in the local mayoral race, there are 4 candidates. The hot mayoral primary race will be on the Republican ticket where the incumbent and two contenders are running. Since in PA you can only vote on/for candidates on the ticket for which you are registered, I can’t vote in the Republican race. I’m not thrilled about the democratic candidate, so I need to research whether or not you can write in a name from the other party and still have my vote count. That might be the loophole I’m looking for.
So why is this such a big race? Because we live in a small city with big city problems. Because the city has so much potential but many want to try to recreate and relive in the glory days of their youth. Because many don’t want to try and combine heritage and history with progress. And because, like many cities of our size, we’re broke.
I don’t believe I’m being naïve when I downplay the problems in the city we call home. The Goat and I have lived in this city for 20 + years. Yes, we’ve got crime but I’ve never felt threatened when taking my morning or evening walk around the neighborhood(s). It’s hard getting along with everyone when we you live in such close proximity to one another, but my neighbors help each other out, chat with one another across the street or from porch to porch, and the kids play games across multiple yards. It’s an urban setting, but I just spent the weekend raking leaves. We have a drug problem, but so does most of the nation – be it heroin or prescribed medicines; the solution is out there and like the rest of the nation, it may just take some time to find it.
Yes, there are problems. But there are good things too – our hospital, public transportation, a varied selection of stores and businesses near the Main Street corridor, paid fire company, a police force that’s active in the community, a large public library, a wide selection of houses of worship, the YMCA and YWCA, an active community theater group, a decent park system for a city of it’s size, a community based farmer’s market, a rail-trail that links to a neighboring community, a minor league baseball team and stadium…
You get the idea. So for me, this May’s primary election is about the possibilities, not the problems. I hope it is for you too. I’ve found that when you focus on the problems, especially in an election, the negativity starts to take over and solutions seem more difficult to find and/or implement. When you vote for the possible, the problems are often solved in ways that are creative, effective, and life changing. Even if you aren’t in our area, when you go to your primaries, vote for the possible!
*Lorelai Gilmore is a fictional character from the television show “Gilmore Girls” who would stash snacks, including popcorn, in her bag when she attended town meetings.