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Sweet Dreams, Katie Newman

posted on November 7, 2011 by fractalbob

Tonight is Election Eve and for some of us it holds the energizing hope of a Dec. 24 without the promise of goodies come morning.

Last Election Eve, our incumbent heroes were taking it easy, warm and rosy-cheeked in full blush of the expectation of victory. And why not? They had performed well on City Council, having slain the Chamber Dragon, fired an evangelical police captain, and steered city government clear of tax incentives for big box stores.

Their opponents, with one exception [James Fitch], did not seem to have either the IQs or the experience to challenge incumbents with balls swollen with hefty professional credentials. So it was a huge shock to many Huntsville voters to learn the incumbents lost, all of them.

With the balance of power shifted, Jack Wagamon became Sisyphus, willing, with heroic resilience, to roll the boulder of good government up the hill again and again. You know the rest of the story. Jack got tired, Jack got slow, and the boulder rolled right over him. See Jack lying flat, face down.

One of two things happened in that election. One — voters were really tired of the Council attack dogs, Lanny Ray, Wagamon, and the head of their agitprop department, Rich “Walker Free Press” Heiland. Or two — the vote was rigged. Somebody was paid off to tamper with vote totals to favor the Hometown Huntsville slate.

It would show a disturbing lack of self awareness on Lanny, Rich and Jack’s part if they dismissed the first possibility out of hand. The combined testosterone count of these old elephants is enough to scare the shit out of anyone. One fusty whiff of them and you know you’re gonna get the shit stomped out of you.

During that campaign season, my dad sent me links to the Walker Free Press in hysterical emails that always included his lame joke: “You can’t take the ‘Heil’ out of ‘Heiland.’ You know what I mean, right? Heil, Hitler!” Yes, Dad, I know what you mean.

But if you examine the results from that election, you’ll see a curious mathematical symmetry. With the exception of Dalene Zender, the incumbents and the Democratic candidates for county and state offices were defeated by a neat 2/3 majority. Not surprising, you say — this is a right-leaning county. But the City Council races are nonpartisan, and some of the incumbents are themselves members of the GOP. The issues they ran on are consistent with Tea Party tenets. Shouldn’t city races have been closer?

I don’t like conspiracy theories. Wait, yes I do. I love them. But only when I can find the grounds to feel justified about inflaming my suspicions. I can’t totally do that here, partly because Lanny, Jack and Rich were such dicks, and that is hard to ignore. But even my dad liked and respected Charles Forbus and if he did, everyone did. And Forbus lost to a one-note drone. It doesn’t make sense.

I can tell from Katie Newman’s Election Eve tweets that she is hopeful about the vote tomorrow. She can’t possibly have undertaken the strain of a City Council run if she was jaded to the possibility she could win. She has to think she’s got the same shot as anyone else. That reaffirms everything I would like to believe about my hometown.

Here’s to you, kid. Sweet dreams, and may Santa come through for you tomorrow.


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