Monday, August 27, 2012

Post 100...what have I learned?

Things have been slow on the local politics front the past couple of weeks affording me the opportunity to think about what I've learned since writing that first post back in February.  It has been quite a ride, and for post 100 it seems fitting to reflect on what I've learned.

Writing about Davidson town events as well as the regional happenings on the local political landscape has certainly brought me closer to this place I call home.  It has taken me to places I would not have gone otherwise and introduced me to people whose paths I would not have crossed.  Interesting, rewarding, and enlightening are words that come to mind.
The first thing I've learned is that there are rules to the "game" of politics, and they apply no matter how big or how small the effort.  More importantly, ignoring those rules has consequences.

Everyone has heard the adage "all politics is local" and that most certainly is true when looking at small town issues.  The large scale political philosophies of "left" and "right" often matter less and comparisons to what other towns have done are sometimes unimportant.  People want to know what something means for right here.  A good example of how this works can be seen in the recent 4-year Terms debate.  Academically, on paper, it may have seemed like a good idea.  Other towns had done it.  It was the majority position in the State.  However, in a town like Davidson where people take civic activism seriously and pride themselves on citizen input, it did not fit.  It did not "feel" right for many.  The proposal, thankfully, failed.

Other political sayings I've heard over the years also come to mind.  "All communication problems are the fault of the communicator" is one.  "Perception is reality" is another.  Ignoring them gives the appearance of being tone deaf.  Whether that is actually true or not doesn't even matter.  If people think they have been tuned out, then they behave as if they have.  Nothing good can come of that.

The second thing I've learned is that what makes Davidson, Davidson is more about the people than what goes on in Town Hall.  For all the critical posts I've written on the purely political front - from the budget, to the Red Line, to Mi-Connection, to 4-Year Terms - I've learned that what makes Davidson, Davidson are really things like Concerts on the Green, 24 Hours of Loopy, the Farmers Market, and the Davidson Community Garden.  Yes, some of these things have the support of Town Hall, but what makes them happen are the people.

And with the people I've met, to the emailers with ideas, and to the readers who have sent in words of encouragement, I want to say thank you.

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