Monday, June 13, 2011

Oh, those small communities...

I love living in a small town. I love that every trip to the grocery store is a social neighborhood gathering. I love that people know who I'm dating before I do. I even love that half the town not only notices, but feels the need to remind me each time I am behind in mowing my lawn.

But most of all I love our small town politics.

Which is why I've decided to rededicate a good portion of this blog space to the political going ons of Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, and Arundel.

While this decision was partially driven by my constant desire to nerd-out to community television broadcasts of planning board meetings, it was also largely decided by two recent, embarrassing, political faux-pas.

The first happened during this past year's Maine gubernatorial election. For weeks I kept reminding myself to read up on the candidates. And for weeks... I did not. Then, Election Day arrived, I didn't know anything, and rather than abstaining from the vote, I essentially tossed a coin between the Democrat and the Independent, a decision that still gives me a stomach ache.

More recently, I stopped by the North Street Fire station on the way home from work to give my approval for the new school budget. It wasn't until I was there, however, that I remembered the day's vote also included the district's recently proposed new cost sharing strategy. The cost sharing strategy I had covered extensively for the Kennebunk Post before securing my new (non-journalism related) job.

Guess who hadn't read up on the proposed final strategy?

I figured that making no decision at all was slightly less offensive than making an uninformed one. And so I left that particular vote blank. (And likely turned a deep shade of red as I slid the obviously incomplete ballot into the return machine).

The especially embarrassing part of each faux-pas is that in my previous life, I was extremely politically motivated. I worked for a campaign! I marched on Washington! I met Cindy Sheehan and Howard Zinn! I even went into debt to produce a politically-motivated compilation CD!

But now... I can't read up on who is running for governor? Pathetic.

I plan to use this space to keep me involved, and hopefully get you all involved. It's easy at my age to dismiss certain votes, and I know that my friends do the same. After all, why should we care what the cost sharing strategy is, anyway? We don't have kids in the district!

But the fact is... we will someday. And the advantage of following politics in such a small town is not limited to the inherent entertainment value. There's also the fact that you can truly feel like your vote counted.

While I'm still a liberal girl at heart, I do want to assure you that me writing about politics will not be left-wing ranting and propaganda. If you makes you feel any better, I was recently confused for a Republican at the bar due to my position on unemployment.

I just laughed. While the nineteen year old girl inside of me cried.

I really just want to make what happens in our town more accessible to my friends.

And maybe, some of you?

Check back soon. There's a Town Meeting this Saturday and you all need to be there.

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