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The Slate Zombies Want Me to Vote for You

posted on November 4, 2011 by fractalbob

I made the Oct. 11 deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 8 election, and, as I expected, my parents told me who I was voting for. The big pitch occurred at dinner with them and a few members of their gang. I expected to hear about the best my city ward had to offer, but instead I was presented with a slate of candidates, a lineup of, I can only assume, straw dogs.

That’s right — in a nonpartisan, local election in which the ballot should be filled by independent thinkers who merely want to serve their community, there’s a slate of candidates who are expected to vote in lock step with each other on the major issues. Now I’m mowing around five campaign signs rather than one or two staked in our massive and still Irish Spring green lawn.

WTF? Local elections should be the one time a citizen can cast a straightforward vote without worrying about the specter of special interests. Who are these special interests in Huntsville and what do they want?

Before moving back to Huntsville, I lived in a very big city — we’ll call it B Town — with many diverse and cosmopolitan influences and amenities, but I’m not sorry to be back home in Huntsville, at least for now. This is a beautiful place, a great place to grow up, full of sweet, caring and unabashedly spiritual people. So where did the slate zombies come from, and how did they capture my smart, rational, loving parents?

There are two slates, actually, battling for control of Huntsville, and they hate each other. This civil war has severed some long-standing relationships, but I am sure that even in the War Between the States, when some households were split asunder, there was nothing like the weird mind control going on here.

All I have to do is mention the name of someone from the other slate and my parents’ eyes become fixed and dilated as the slate’s neck implant issues commands.

“He (or she) is evil,” my father will say.

“And crazy,” my mother will add.

“Crazy and evil,” they drone. “If they win, we’ll run out of water. Kittens and babies will die of thirst and downtown will burn to the ground. You won’t be able to eat at Olive Garden or shop at the big new HEB. What are you going to do, boy, if Target goes away and we don’t get a Panda Express?”

I made the mistake of joking: “Yes, but think about how great it would be if that old ugly downtown burned. It could be the new TIRZ! Gimme your keys, and I’ll go get the Tyvek!”

My parents’ eyes lit up with the sickening excitement of yet another chain store, another big box possibility.

It’s occurred to me that in some other home, bar or local restaurant the same conversation is going on between the opposite slate zombies and their targeted acolytes.

“We had to secretly tape their conversations and play them at City Council, Junior. How else are we going to expose their lies? We’re the good guys, but we have to fight fire with fire. These people are evil. Greedy and evil.”

The outcome of this struggle will have more in common with Russia 1917 or Afghanistan 1999 than America 1776. This is no revolution in name only to throw off the shackles of an overseas micromanager with a big navy. If the old guard wins, they will remove the tools the rebels used to try to overthrow them. It will be illegal, if only in the spirit of the open records laws, but the Republic of Texistan will not check them. If the taxpayer rebels win, they will abandon their moral and civil standards to check an old guard resurgence. The chamber of commerce will be sent to a temporary gulag while a death squad can be recruited and trained.

Within the ranks of the winning-side zombies, independent thought will be swiftly and aggressively discredited, and its purveyors vilified and ostracized. Citizens usually lose when ideologues win.

What’s happened to the Huntsville I used to know? Nothing. I’m afraid. Maybe all these parks, lakes, tall trees, blue skies and the quiet, lazy days I used to enjoy here were the backdrop for all sorts of ugliness that I was oblivious to. Maybe there’s always been a secret government pulling the strings from the shadows. And now there are two.

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