Keeping the Blanket on the Parties
My suggestion to have the Charter Review Commission reconsider asking the voters whether they’d like to have partisan elections was just shot down. A commission member who wasn’t here for my spiel last time, Frank “Richard” Joslin (I’m almost positive), himself a member of the town Democrat committee, spoke against me, making two points to which I would have offered rebuttal had I had opportunity:
- It’s a small town, and everybody who cares to vote (or gets involved) knows who belongs to what party.
- His fellows on the Democrat committee are very ideologically diverse, so it serves no end for voters to know that they are all Democrats for the purpose of electing them.
Regarding the first point, I’d offer my testimony that Richard is patently wrong — and in a way that highlights the problem of the supposed non-partisan elections: When I began looking into the party affiliations of Tiverton’s elected officials, I had to look for such things as political donations and old, pre-non-partisanism election results. Is this the marker of good government? That a piece of information about elected officials ought to require private-eye-style investigations? The idea that the circumscribed group that currently participates in the running of the town of Tiverton ought to have largely exclusive access to an absolutely relevant bit of data is a recipe for exclusion, apathy, and stagnation.
This bleeds into my response to the second point: Whether party affiliation should be a consideration while voting ought to be a decision that the voter makes for him or her self, not a dictation from the limited group that makes the rules. Moreover, if party affiliation means nothing, then why does Tiverton have a Democrat Committee in the first place? And why does that committee promote its members for town offices?
Clearly, whether Richard’s fellow Democrats are liberal, conservative, or simply cantankerous, there is something that they have in common that causes them to gather and work together, and inasmuch as the party is a political organization, that something would seem relevant our self government. Richard may not like the idea that people might hold his party affiliation against him (one of his expressed concerns), but then perhaps he ought to question why he is involved with the party in the first place.
And frankly, given the condition of this Democrat-run state — for which condition the municipalities bear their share of blame — it is preeminently rational for voters to hold their party affiliation against them.