Wednesday, November 08, 2006

All Politics is Local

I enter the blogosphere today with a bittersweet taste in my mouth. While I am thrilled by the national outcomes and fully expect both houses of the Congress to be controlled by Democrats in January, I am conscious that the races that mattered most to our daily lives in Tennessee went overwhelmingly against us last night. Leave aside Bob Corker, who is clearly a good man who will doubtless be a strong senator. He should be happy for GOP minority status because it will increase his flexibility to learn the job and follow his good judgment rather than following the national party's marching orders to the detriment of Tennessee voters.

My concern is that the state and local issues that exact the most direct impact on our daily lives, my fellow volunteers voted against their clear interests. In metropolitan Nashville, for instance, ballot initiatives that will seriously undermine the potential for wisdom and deliberation in establishing the county's budget passed overwhelmingly. Each of these will have direct and clear negative impacts on the provision of fire, police, and educational services in the county. Officials in Davidson County will continue to work hard within these new constraints, and public policy will proceed, but there is clear evidence that the people of the county have voted against their own best interests.

So, the question is, WHY? I, for one, do not believe that the people are incapable of evaluating their self-interests accurately. The people of Tennessee are intelligent, capable, and strong. They stand up aggressively to be counted against threats to their neighbors, and they can easily understand clear assessments and political/economic arguments.

So, this blog begins today. In the spirit of the book, What's The Matter With Kansas?, I will explore the causes of this seeming disconnect between election results and the demonstrable self-interests of the people of Tennessee. I invite your comments and ideas. Let's generate a strong discussion of the dynamics of the situation so that Tennessee voters will begin to protect their interests better in future elections.