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Sequim WA

2022-02-08 00:25:57.557548+01 by Dan Lyke 2 comments

I've been looking for inspiration on some of the local activism I've been involved in. In that vein, an interesting read on local organizing The Nation: The Town That QAnon Nearly Swallowed, about Sequim Washington, a town that seemed to be driven by Q fanatics, and when the sanity coalition organized managed to drive them out with 2 to 1 margins, with candidates at both ends of the left-right spectrum.

Via MeFi

[ related topics: Politics ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: Sequim WA made: 2022-02-09 17:52:51.777379+01 by: Dan Lyke

In his Twitter thread linking to the BoingBoing version of this, Elf Sternberg observed:

Ever since the end of World War 2, this is how America operates: the left makes America richer, and the right enables the oligarchy to extract as much of that wealth as it can while leaving devastated lives in its wake, that the left then patches up again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

#Comment Re: Sequim WA made: 2022-02-09 17:54:49.968758+01 by: Dan Lyke

Also, copied from my comment on the MeFi thread:

When people stopped showing up, the cranks took over.

Among my many hobbies: because I was one of the first people to buy a Zoom account at the beginning of the pandemic, when a forum series on local town development and finance issues went virtual, I ended up as the host of it.

So where I'd previously been the guy who listened to some of the city council meetings, showed up at a few forum planning sessions, and brought my sound gear to the library when we did in-person meetups, I ended up as the host and face. And I get dragged further and further in.

And here's the thing: We need involved people who aren't, as my older rich white guy City Council member friend observed, more involved people who aren't older rich white guys. But when we're asking people to choose between, say, their kid's soccer game and attending a City Council meeting, I hope they choose to support their kid.

So what we end up with is largely either retired people who believe in the town they had 20 years ago, or cranks who have nothing better to do than to fuck shit up. Luckily, my town elects largely the former, and of those former quite a few of them are able to see past two decades ago, even if their electorate largely can't. But anybody who listens to public comment knows that our other alternative with lots of free time to give to civic issues is, if not overtly QAnon people, those who have suspicions that the vaccine has receivers that can be influenced by 5G. Or something.

Which also means that the former group has to additionally have the patience to manage the expectations of the latter group.

All of which drives people like me (I've held an appointed position on a town committee for a few years) running for the hills, or, if we're really really really committed to this geography over our career paths, finding alternative ways to guide the future directions of the town. But until I hit my 40s, I was way happier to move for the sake of my job than to commit to really making a particular place my home. And even now, I fucking wonder some times.

And let's face it, the best bet for changing the direction of a city is influencing the direction of city staff hiring, the City Manager and the Director of Public Works, and how exciting is that process to your average citizen? They just want their potholes filled and their lives minimally disrupted, not to hear about how they're gonna have to alter their lifestyles to respond to climate change and funding issues.

So, yeah, I don't have a solution, but the problem is that in a world where the adults of a family are working their own jobs, trying to enrich the lives of their children as much as they can, and maybe cook some healthy meals, sitting through hours of city council meetings, starting with 45 minutes of ceremony and crankdom, in order to make public comment on the 30 seconds of agenda that they actually care about, is simply never going to be a thing.

We need different models of public engagement, and we need replacements for churches and other civic organizations to drive those, and... to some extent I'm part of the problem, because I know that there are other driven motivated small groups out there who've managed to coalesce thirty or forty core people who want to make something happen, but we all have our own pet projects and issues which we coalesce around.

And unless there's some huge existential threat, anyone with the skills to join those groups together into some sort of guiding force will quickly graduate to higher level politics than just a small town.

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