I have been wondering more and more about my obsession with politics. Like many obsessions, it borders on unhealthy. Often its frustrating, particularly to watch progress get thwarted come the next election.
I was feeling this way about the recent Democratic primary for the Wake County Commissioners. I’ve felt the incumbents on the ballot, Sig Hutchinson, John Burns, Erv Portman, and Matt Calabria, have done a fine job guiding the county but several fellow Democrats had a differing opinion. Portman and Burns were sent home Tuesday in favor of former school board member Susan Evans and newcomer Vickie Adamson. Hutchinson and Calabria retained their seats.
I’ve known John Burns for several years now, first connecting with him through each of our social media presences. He is as honest and trustworthy a public servant as any I’ve ever met. He has a very strong conscience and is not afraid to speak up for those with no voice of their own. He somehow managed to juggle his day job, his Commission duties, and still make time for his wonderful family. I was happy to hold him up as a role model for how to do public service the right way.
I was at his after-election get-together when he saw that he was going to lose. It was hugely disappointing to me.
At the same time, Vickie Adamson is a friend, too. As the outgoing president of Ligon PTA, she showed me the ropes and selflessly stepped in for those events where I needed a hand. She is extremely smart, gregarious, giving, and hard-working. I think she will do well on the Commission.
That said, I was not happy with the tone of the campaign and lay most of this blame on Dean Debnam, one of the main supporters of Vickie’s campaign. Debnam’s tactics are so divisive that it will take some time to heal, all the while the Republicans have kept their powder dry with the November general election in mind.
To me, this is why Democrats can’t have nice things: we demand perfection and cut loose the instant it isn’t achieved. Republicans have learned to play the long game, like the way they bided their time until redistricting would give them a long-term lock on state politics. Differences Democrats would have more productively dealt with behind closed doors play out in our primaries, wasting everyone’s time, money, and energy – all of which would be better spent keeping Republicans at bay.
For decades I’ve dreamed of putting my name on the ballot, if I could ever get Kelly onboard. Now I feel drawn in a different direction, not as inclined to put my energy into petty battles as I once was. There are other ways of organizing people towards common good and I think that’s where I’ll be spending my time.