Hope is hanging in there in my little town
Did you feel the earth shift at 9 PM on Tuesday night? Because the techtonic plate of the politics in the town I live in shifted when the polls closed.
Tuesday was primary night in New York, and there was only one race on the primary slate here: Republican candidate for Town Council. Three candidates were running, and the two getting the most votes would get to be on the ballot in November and would go on to almost certain victory. The candidates:
- The woman who is a farmer and a county worker who has served on the Town Council for almost 8 years. She has been a sensible member of the board.
- The newcomer, a woman who belongs to one of the two fire departments and who first ran a few years ago as a write-in. This time she did her legwork, and filed a Republican petition, got the Democratic nomination at the caucus, and filed an independent petition to boot.
- The grande dame (EDIT: from the French, meaning "great lady") of our town's politics. This candidate is 88 years old, and has been involved in the town's government and politics for decades. She is renowned for her ability to get re-elected, and to make or break other candidates by working for them, or working against them. In the past she has actively worked against my husband.
And guess who is not going to be able to run for her umpteenth term on the council? Yes, the grande dame lost.
Meanwhile, campaigning is going well for my husband. People here want to improve things. They want to clean up the river, and are talking about installing a waste treatment plant, and most of this talk is coming from downtown, where they would have to pay the rates. They want a playground for the kids. They seem to want less negativity in general. They seem to be sick of the feuds.
That feeling of hope that ran strong in the 2008 election is still running strong in this town. Stay tuned, because I think some good things are going to happen here.
I have received an anonymous comment that says "The Grande Dame you are referring to has given 30 years of service to the Town Board and she cares more for the Town of Russell than anyone else does. She knows the voters have spoken and excepts that; she does not need to be made fun of and put down by you."
There is nothing in my words above that puts the particular lady down. The definition of "grande dame" in Webster's New World College Dictionary is "a woman, esp. an older one, of great dignity or prestige." I chose my words in my post above carefully, and knew the definition of the phrase when I used it.
The lady certainly has great prestige in our community. I believe it likely that she has given service to our town for longer than 30 years. She has also been one of the most politically powerful people in our community, and she does not hesitate to take sides on issues. I think it likely that she will continue to be involved in the community - there is one project in particular, the revival of the Opera House, that seems to be very close to her heart.
I was as surprised as anyone in town when she lost, and have great admiration for her energy and her dedication to the town.