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Thursday, November 10, 2005

In which the author improvises at the polls.

Ah, election day in fair Cambridge — when I had to decide among 18 city council candidates, rank them for nine spots, and vote for them in order because of my city's oh-so-forward-thinking instant run-off voting. I could hardly tell what was at stake and how to tease apart the minor differences between the candidates. Oh, I see, you're even more strongly for traffic lights and open space! (There were also three insurgent Libertarians, bless their countercultural hearts here in the People's Republic — one of whom doomed his candidacy by coming to a neighborhood potluck and acknowledging up front that he never remembers names. Not a good sign for a budding political career.)

Because I'm a dutiful citizen, I spent two hours Monday night in a crash-course in local politics — thanks to a fellow citizen's diligent website and a single article from the 2001 Boston Phoenix archives. Did I realize the article was four years old as I was reading it Monday night? No, I did not. (I hope democracy can survive voters like me.) The article was actually useful, though, because the cast of characters was almost entirely the same four years later.

As you can plainly see, I cared about this municipal election with a passionate and feverish intensity. I rent, don't yet have children, and am not much of an activist, so I'm nine years into my Cambridge residency without feeling at all enlightened about the inner workings of my own city. If only the Boston Globe sent a reporter across the river every now and then, I say to myself. There you have it: Philocrites is a slacker when it comes to local politics. But I love to vote. So I voted. Viva democracy!

Meanwhile, because it's always fun to retreat from the dust of real politics into the pure air of ideology, I have finally mapped myself on the ol' Political Compass, thanks to a link from Exiled from the Underworld. I appear to be some kind of left-libertarian. Just as I thought! My coordinates, for those of you who've always wondered just what sort of pinko-commie I really am and are hurrying over to take the quiz yourself:

Economic Left/Right: -4.13
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.74

I wonder where that puts me among Unitarian Universalists especially.

And did you vote on Tuesday?

Update 11.11.05: Oh, yeah: Here are the results of the Cambridge election, in which only 15% of us eligible voters showed up.

Copyright © 2005 by Philocrites | Posted 10 November 2005 at 9:21 PM

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November 11, 2005 07:46 AM | Permalink for this comment

No big surprises when I took it:

Economic Left/Right: -8.25
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.46


November 11, 2005 10:15 AM | Permalink for this comment

Economic Left/Right: -9.13
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.44


November 11, 2005 12:26 PM | Permalink for this comment

I also consulted on the evening before the election. Among the candidates, my favorite was definitely the crazy geese man, Robert LaTrémouille, .
Some fun quotes:
"The real trouble in Cambridge, however, is that we have in the city council nine heartless animal starvers who routinely and needlessly destroy the environment, particularly but not solely trees, as part of public projects."
On the topic "Art and Public Celebrations": "The city should be honoring its most precious possession on the Charles River, the 25 year resident Charles River White Geese. It should not be heartlessly starving them, as stated above."
And, on the topic "Cambridge Public Schools": "Public officials in their public actions should provide role models worthy of emulation by the school population. Nine city councilors are heartlessly starving the 25 year resident Charles River White Geese by walling off their food of 25 years from access from the Charles River. [...] Our school children should be protected from exposure to heartless animal starvers including the nine incumbents. They should not have such people presented to them as roll [sic] models." Admittedly a more interesting proposal than "smaller classrooms".


November 11, 2005 05:56 PM | Permalink for this comment

Congratulations on being part of the enlightened and earnest 15%.

I hope that your candidates won.


November 11, 2005 06:52 PM | Permalink for this comment

i voted, but not on Tuesday. we vote absentee ballot now, because it has a paper trail. california had over 50% absentee voters this time.
If everyone did it, there'd be a paper trail whether they like it or not.


November 13, 2005 05:38 PM | Permalink for this comment

So far, all my readers are farther down into that lower left quadrant. Will Shetterly checks in:

Economic Left/Right: -8.88
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.97

And Dan Harper comes up:

Economic Left/Right: -9.63
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.67

Who can plot us all on a chart and see what kind of axis might characterize the range of UU political opinion?

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