I don’t know why I didn’t realize she was there; I should have known.
As I was leaving the City Council meeting last Monday night, walking towards the elevators in the center of the City Hall, there was a cart of trash cans topped by stacks of paper towels and other cleaning supplies that seemed to be floating through the corridor, only the slight squeak of wheels turning.
The cart and I passed each other, I on my way to the elevator, the cart on it’s way to the courtyard. I saw a very small, but clearly very strong woman pushing the cart. I gave her a big smile. “A lot to carry, there.”
She smiled back. “I can do this.” Just the faintest flavor of an accent. Oaxaca? Guerrero?
We passed, each going in our own direction, both of us warmed by the smile and the words. Considering where I had just come from, I was a little surprised at myself. I should have known she was there.
The agenda item that has kept every interested political enthusiast in the city talking – the mayoral rotation – has more points than a porcupine. Whether or not the sitting council has the right the overrule the previous council, if it’s right or just or fair for someone to get two turns as mayor before someone else has had one, if policy needs to be respected or tossed out, does it even matter who the mayor is; a lot to carry, there.
The good thing is that people care. We have some committed and concerned citizens. The difficult thing is that people care so much about ‘winning’ that they are willing to engage in behavior that – if someone else was doing it – they would be calling it unfair.
This is politics. Fair isn’t even in the room.
It wasn’t that the candidates endorsed by the Democratic Club had somehow changed tactics. These were the folks who changed their own rules for endorsements at the same meeting where they endorsed in the two previous elections. These were the people who had to get their candidates to re-register for party preference so that the party could include them. The credo seems to be that they will change whatever rules they want to change so that things go the way they think they should go.
It’s a tactic we’ve all seen a lot of lately from the feds.
I had to recall Erich Fromm’s Escape From Freedom, originally published in 1941 during some of the darkest days of struggle, “Freedom is not less endangered if attacked in the name of anti-facism than in that of outright fascism.” The fact is that freedom is under attack.
The strangest bit of insight came to me from the comments of four time mayor Paul Jacobs. He offered that being the mayor was not such a big deal, no one was lacking the ability to cut a ceremonial ribbon or move the agenda forward per Robert’s Rules of Order. “Has something changed over the last year?”
The question exploded in my mind. Did Mr. Jacobs truly have no idea of what has changed over the last year? The Supreme Court is rolling back rights as quickly as it can, Nazis with torches are marching, toddlers are being put in prison camps, and the corporate controllers signed on for a trillion dollars in tax relief at the expense of American workers. The country is on its way to being an openly totalitarian nation, with power and force as the only standards of what is right.
I was also surprised that so many people attending the council meeting took the local media as their lead to speak – agreeing or disagreeing, but leaving no doubt that people are reading, and discussing what they read, and thinking about what gets said.
To continue to think that this is just about who gets to be mayor and how is missing the force that is moving all this forward.
Some people at city hall might not see, might never consider the woman pushing the janitorial cart. But there is an unseen force that has may be the decisive hand in how all this resolves.
A lot to carry, there.
While I consider it’s a problem for this publication that more people are willing to comment privately to the editor than are willing to comment publicly to the readership, it does at least give readers a place to express themselves. While I encourage these comments to come out into the light, I’m often told that people are afraid, and this truly disturbs me. That people are afraid to be themselves, or express themselves, because of what they fear will be the response from their neighbors – well, let’s just say the terrorists are winning. If you are living in fear, the fear of what your neighbors will say, then the terrorists are winning. The only standards for commenting on CulverCityCrossroads are that you sign your real name ( you have to be real person to have a real name) no threats and no obscene language. Being civil and respectful of the people you disagree with might even get you into a productive dialogue with them. We can still save ourselves, but only if the pronouns shift from ‘us’ and ‘them’ to ‘we.’