Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
Thought that we'd be the last to go
It is so strange the way things turn

Monday, October 22, 2012

Any way the wind blows doesn't really matter to me

I've seen quite a few people (on both sides of the political spectrum) wonder how people can be undecided, even at this late date. They find it incredible that anyone hasn't been able to see the clear differences (at least to them) between the candidates and make their choice. Here's some perspective from having served 9 years in an elected position.

Most people just don't give a crap. They don't care about government until they can't avoid noticing government in their lives. This is likely to happen when the police give them a ticket, or they run afoul of zoning laws, or realize that yes, there are ordinances that keep them from being dicks to their neighbors or that they have to do things correctly instead of the cheap-ass way they want to. Not that these people are all dicks, many are very nice. They just want to go about their lives. They feel voting is a responsibility, but they really don't see a big difference between the parties and they don't see how these policies that are being debated have any affect to their lives.

I could go into a full psychological breakdown, but I won't. Why? Because it won't change them. As a councilman, we really could have done almost anything with budgets and the people just wouldn't care (and many wouldn't understand it, heck, I was involved in it an I don't think I ever had a full grasp of the intricacies of government spending). But let the streets not get plowed in the winter, or in our cases the sidewalks (yes, as a "favor" to our residents we plow most sidewalks, even though we have no legal obligation to do so, and the property owner does, but you try and tell them that, including their liability to both the Village and people walking), and the calls would flood in. Let us talk about anything regarding adjusting taxes and people wouldn't come into the meetings to talk about (that would be too direct), but we'll get the feedback through the grapevine. Or if their property floods, they don't want to hear, "No my job" from their elected officials (I could tell you stories. Lots of stories.).

If they're well fed right now, warm, and in general good health most people just couldn't care and don't want to give their time or energy to following politics. I know people who don't watch or read any news. I know, right?

Here's the thing, I sometimes wonder how much easier my life would be if I could follow that example. I'm not built that way, as you can tell. So it's only idle speculation on my part. Sometimes, however, I really long to be able to do that.

But here's the thing as well, you can't get the undecided engaged until they want to be. Nothing, nothing, nothing will get them off the stump until they feel they're threatened (personally) or they just can't put it off any longer. This is why yard signs do help candidates.

I will say this year the number of undecided in a Presidential race are much smaller than I ever remember them. These are people who won't really decide until they have to make their mark/pull the lever.

And nothing you say or do will get them to make the decision any sooner.

I will say, in general these people tend to break conservative. Not really because of any political conviction any deeper than "things are good right now (for them), conservatives will keep it that way."

Here I will also point out that people actually voting for Obama (in almost all his elections) runs at about 3 points less that his polling. Just wanted to get that point out there before the election so everybody understands what polling means.

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