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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Non-Partisan Elections Like Throwing Darts

Although I am still researching this, I have come to a conclusion of sorts about why things are the way they are regarding the strict adherence to the seemingly non-partisan form of city government in many towns throughout Wisconsin.

THE UPCOMING April election is a case in point. Voters often hear about the community service, education, general background, family and even religious orientation of the candidates, but when you ask them about their politics, they either say they’re neutral, in the center or an Independent. It’s funny how only 8-12% of the population is something other than a Democrat or a Republican, but they all seem to be running for City Council. And although Janesville city council candidates run non-partisan campaigns, that doesn’t mean candidates are obligated to keep their political philosophy a secret.

Private organizations like chambers of commerce and newspapers operate outside of legitimate political organizations such as the Republican or Democratic Party, so they have set themselves up pushing a political platform while maintaining party label immunity. This strong undercurrent of partisan folks have established themselves as the driving force in city leadership not because of politics - but because of the visible lack of politics. This of course allows them have full public opinion steering control.

THEY CAN SHAPE the talk of anyone trying to introduce an organized peoples platform into an absurd power grabbing goal of a ranting partisan, and who wants to support that? But the dominant press has to do this to protect their own interests and the interests of the dominant quasi-partisan power base they are connected to. So, talk of introducing partisanship, a mayoral city government, or district representation with alderman and precinct captains is a direct threat to their power.

TO PUT IT another way, when most of the owners, directors and editors of the media are tied into various quasi-nonpartisan organizations and businesses, you get a complicit press greasing the skids for their own agenda while enabling a crusade against critics and those who do not share the same goals. All the while maintaining they are beholden to no one, even the public they are entrusted to serve.

SO WHY have a non-partisan at-large city council? Simply because it is the very best way for a wealthy and influential minority to hold onto power. That is not democracy.

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