Come what may, I gotta be me.

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The clock for New Albany’s municipal elections in 2019 has started ticking in earnest. As the article quoted below attests, the single biggest issue is convincing those of you prone to incessant complaints about local issues to realize that local issues typically are resolved locally.

You may love NA Confidential and you may hate it, but one thing you cannot say about this entity is that we ignore what’s happening, right here where we live.

During our time in Gdansk, the Confidentials spent much time talking about current events, whether they pertain to the planet, our country, this city or ourselves. Our inescapable conclusion is one of transition. Old realities always yield to new ones, but it seems the process is particularly acute at the moment. Maybe it’s always been.

I’ve spent much time lately agonizing publicly about where this blog has been, and where it’s going. There’s no need to revisit these ruminations, apart from saying there’s a tightrope I’ve been walking; where it leads is anyone’s guess, and all I know for sure is I can’t go backward.

As for politics, politics is about power, but power needn’t be entirely political. This may or may not have anything to do with me, although each of us would like to enjoy a semblance of power when it comes to our own destiny — whatever that means.

Maybe this: There’s a place for me somewhere in this place.

I’ve never known exactly where or what this is, and I may not always have clicked the right boxes when it comes to pursuing it. Still, there seems to be little choice apart from continuing to grope forward in an effort to find out.

It’d be nice to enjoy universal approval of friends and neighbors in the process, and make fewer enemies, except the one irrefutable conclusion to be drawn from the journey thus far is the sheer unlikelihood of such an outcome. I can’t change the past, although I can change how I interact in the future. 

In the coming months, it will remain my aim to be part of the local solution, and to refrain from being a problem.

Does this resolution involve politics, business, advocacy or polemics?

Of course it does, and that’s about all I can say. I’d be more precise if I could. Whether this means running for, against, away or towards this, that or another is impossible for me to say. At this point, all I know for sure is that my evident lot in life is to give a damn, as opposed to not caring.

It’s a blessing, or a curse. 

National Politics Has Taken Over America, by Emma Green (The Atlantic)

Democrats are finally investing in state-level elections. But candidates in those races face big obstacles in trying to get voters to care.

 … Despite her daughter’s objections, Felicia French decided to run. At first, Anna agreed to help her out for a few weeks, which turned into a few months. Then she was hooked. “The further we went on the campaign, the more energized I got,” Anna said. “The people we were meeting … saw my mom as this person who could really create positive change.” The more she saw other people getting excited about a state-level election, she said, “the more I realized: Well, maybe this is the way we change it.”

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Elections on this level have a different feel than multimillion-dollar national races. Candidates are less polished. Many of the issues are more immediate. With margins of victory sometimes as close as a couple hundred votes, it’s easier to imagine that every ballot could determine the outcome of races.

But for all the inspiration that state- and local-level elections might offer, candidates also face extraordinary challenges—including having to argue that their races actually matter. National issues seem to have become the center of American politics, expanding to take over even the most parochial races.

This year, a slew of organizations, volunteers, and nominees have tried to refocus voters’ attention on what’s happening in their states and towns. To succeed, they’ll have to transform an entire political culture in which voters are obsessively focused on Washington, intensely tribalized, and essentially ignorant of how government can powerfully shape their lives, starting at the statehouse.

Former speaker of the house tip o’neill used to evangelize his view that “all politics is local,” but these days, it often seems like all politics is national. Local news coverage has collapsed and become increasingly centralized. President Donald Trump is at the center of every cable-news story. Research suggests that voters are less engaged and informed on local issues than national ones. And according to organizations working to influence state- and local-level races this year, faraway scandals have often been the central conversation when local candidates knock on voters’ doors.

snip

The premise of federalism is that government works best when it’s functioning at levels big and small; that politicians can be most effective and accountable when they are close to the people they represent. In practice, it can be difficult to see evidence of the connection between local politicians and their constituents—and easy to see why so many people seem to prefer national battles over state-level politics.

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