Friday, November 22, 2002

There's something reassuring about a small town news broadcast. It's a strong creator/evoker of community. In half an hour, I find out what the morons in washington and down at the state capital are up to these days, what's happening in my town that's weird, funny, or scary, and whether the Tigers are going to make it to the show. It's the town in a nutshell.

Columbia, Missouri is a textbook version of an Ideopolis. It's a college town, with its other major employers including hospitals, light manufacturing, and a textbook wholesaler. In an article on Slate, Tim Noah ponders why the folks who live in towns like mine tend to vote Democratic, then The Fray jumps in.

My personal favorite is the guy who suggests it's because conservative men can't get laid in a town like this. I can't argue with this; I'm not conservative.

But there's a better reason. Everyone I know in this town is less than two degrees of separation from what is, essentially, a government job, whether it be for the state or for the university. So when a Republican stands up and starts talking about out of touch bureaucrats, too many taxes, and thieving, wasteful government employees, it means some of my friends might go back to working minimum wage with no health insurance. Who the hell you think I'm going to vote for?

Missouri's Democratic Governor was on the news tonight talking about our budget problems. Basically, like every state since about two years ago, we're going broke. We the people need money if we want to do silly, extravagant things like maintain our highways and educate our children. Gov. Holden is proposing that we start closing corporate tax loopholes.

I don't know if it's a good idea, really, or not. Actually, it's a risk to try it, and a risk to propose it. Holden's never been much of a populist, as far as I know, so is this some new taste of what the new, invigorated Democratic Party is going to be like?

Much as I hate to admit it, I'm having to admit that I probably am a Democrat. But I'm the same kind of Democrat as I am Buddhist (or Christian, for that matter). It's a faith that is both sincere and well thought out, but nevertheless honored more with neglect than action.

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