This is a recounting of my first exposure as a sort-of political official. Last month, after being involved in politics for years, I managed to get appointed to something. This something consists of 7 people and has oversight over a small local government agency in rural California—let’s call the place Banana Valley.
There was a perturbed citizen who had bitter comments to make about everything on the agenda, but whose outrage was strangely shaped by some higher decency to conform to his time limits. He had no point at all. By his dress, I assume he was a high school teacher or a scientist of some kind.
There was a yokel colleague who voted in favor of one of the stupidest things in our area’s history complaining about our agency’s lack of money. Everything in government budgeting had to be just the same as his shitty construction business. Right. When it didn’t come out that way, he would say that he didn’t believe it as if he was being told that pigs could fly.
There was another colleague waxing philosophical but who was almost senile when he tried to pin down his point.
There were the employees trying to explain everything to a group of people who were just trying to find something to tear them apart for even though they were doing a good job. There were members of a different local government agency from Banana Valley trying to restrain their contempt for the members of this agency.
And most of the fighting was over trivial amounts of money.
What struck me so deeply was that the “tea party” instinct in some of these folks in order to save taxpayer money is on so many levels penny wise and pound foolish. They want them to get cheaper equipment. Then it has to be replaced. They want them to get lower paid employees. Then they need more employees to do the same work, or they get employees that are stupid.
What’s scary is that this is one of those things that nobody cares about until it doesn’t work. If this agency does nothing wrong, no one cares. The vote totals are the lowest of anything. Yet Banana Valley would be burned to the ground if it failed in another Southern California fire. And it shouldn’t be hard to prevent failure, except for these whack-packers trying to play Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.
There has to be some juice to be had in standing up for this “just make it work” for the silent majority type of philosophy, right?