Friday, June 15, 2007

Why I Won't Run

As part of my ongoing effort to become more politically involved, I volunteered to help local candidate Peter Haight in our recent Ward 2 Town Council by-election. Peter has always been a vocal supporter of downtown business (he runs an art gallery and framing business on Main St.), and is a relentless critic of how Council has allowed Mattamy and the other developers to dictate the terms of Milton's growth and expansion, thereby turning it into a sprawling mess. All admirable positions that I am happy to support despite his distressingly blue signs.

He also has an awesome mustache.

I’m afraid I wasn’t much help in the end. I spent one afternoon helping him knock on doors and hand out pamphlets, but between work and other obligations that was all I got to do. It was an interesting experience, though, and one that convinced me that I’m really not cut out for politics.

One example. A local group has been pushing for a ban on cosmetic pesticides, so far without success, and one person asked me where Peter stood on the issue. I didn’t know, so I called Peter over. He said that we have too many chemicals getting into our system already without adding more for something as unnecessary as lawn weeds, so yes, he would support a ban.

See, I wouldn’t have said that. I would have said something like, we have far more pressing problems in this town than trying to implement an unenforceable and unnecessary ban on legal products that have been rigorously tested and proven to be safe when used correctly. Like not eating them. But no, this one’s being backed by the same shrieking "That Shit’ll Give You Cancer!!" faction that kept Milton’s water supply unchlorinated and full of microbial goodness right up until the 1990s, and still has everyone in this town convinced that fluoride is some sort of commie conspiracy. Personally, I’m far more concerned with pesticides used on food and the weirdass hormones and chemicals they give to cows and chickens, but hey, that’s just me.

I think this guy liked Peter’s answer better. Good thing he didn't ask me about the power plant.

I am also not cut out for televised debates. Aside from having a face for radio, I really don’t think well on my feet.

This was brought home to me yet again this week when I was asked to give an interview for GlobalNews. Apparently someone ran across one of my famous Letters to the Editor and thought I would have something interesting to say about the state of public transit in Milton. They turned up at my house, hooked me up with the mike, set me up on the sidewalk and started asking questions.

I wasn’t nervous. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to say. And yet… I don’t think I did so well. I didn’t know what to do with my hands, and I’m pretty sure I babbled. I would open my mouth and just keep blathering until the guy took pity on me and interrupted with another question. I may not even make the cut when the thing airs June 27th on the 6:00 news. Just as well.

I have considered sitting on a town committee. Traffic Services in particular seems to be in desperate need of someone with a modicum of sense, but I suspect I would end up putting a gun to my head out of sheer frustration. From what I’ve heard, it’s about the same at the DBIA.

Honestly, I think I’m much better in print. I can mull, and edit, and take the time to pick select just the right word to win hearts and minds. Maybe I should be a speech writer.

BTW, Haight lost. He came in a distant third to newcomer Greg Nelson, which surprised everyone who had John Challinor pegged as the front runner. I don’t know a lot about Nelson except that he has somehow managed to be associated with both the Milton Bible Church and the Knights of Columbus without getting burned at the stake. We'll see if he shakes up the old farts at all, or if he's just going to sit there and keep the seat warm.

I am glad it wasn’t Challinor, though. He has Republican hair.

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