Unpaid Political Announcement
(fyi: I lost)
For legal reasons, and just so you’ll know, I have to mention that I’m a candidate for reelection to the Harrisonburg City Council in the May 2004 election.
The legal requirement, while perhaps not intended to do so, has the de facto effect of turning a person into a candidate and nothing else. This constant identification reminds people that under our system of politics, the candidate is to be treated with distrust and that any statement on his or her part is to be taken as a self-serving attempt to gain reelection. It enables people to say, "He just wants to get reelected," without at the same time requiring them to do the intellectual heavy lifting of asking why he wants to be reelected, or, carrying it a nuanced conditional adverb further, why anybody would possibly want to be reelected.
So it goes.
Some common wisdom -- like that shared by many local newspaper editors who think they’re H.L. Mencken when they’re really Walter Mitty -- would have you believe that all aspirants to any local office seek it for personal gain and plan to seek higher office for personal glory.
Some aspirants would have you believe they seek political office because they want to make the world a better place and are willing to sacrifice whatever they must in order to make it so.
As always, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
I like being on City Council. I couldn't do it with a clear conscience if I didn't do it the best I know how. And I'm not getting rich off the pay or the acclaim. My reward is doing it well. That’s the reward I want out of reelection, and that’s how I want to keep doing it.