Apr 8, 2009

Diary of a Mayor's Wife

My husband is the mayor of our little town and yesterday he didn't get re-elected. Yes, we knew it was coming. For lots of reasons, we knew it was coming and really Dan was thinking he didn't even have time to go out and get signatures so his name would be on the ballot, but one cold Sunday in four below weather he tromped around and got them anyway and that was the extent of it really. He's been working too hard lately to campaign. A few yard signs and a debate (that he totally kicked butt at) a few postcards and that was it really. We didn't have the time or energy or some days the desire to put much more than that into it.

When he ran originally, four years ago, we had a website, buttons, yard signs, press releases, walk pieces, informational handouts and Dan knocked on every door in town and talked nonstop about the things he wanted to do. This year the new kid ran that same campaign Dan did the first time around and we watched him tirelessly do it, knowing it would work.

There's lots of feelings here today, the first of course is being proud of what Dan has done. I've watched him work endless hours, reading every municipal periodical cover to cover and attending every function and meeting he could always thinking of the village first, staying up worrying about budgets, answering phone calls and looking at potholes at all hours of the night. Literally serving his neighbors at every waking moment even when he knew he couldn't make the popular decision. Too many in the past have made the choices that made them popular and Dan swept up that mess and made the hard decisions* that put us back on track. I'm so proud to say, in the last four years he's accomplished every single one of the things he set out to do, or was on track to accomplish them. It's up to the next person and the next board to finish it up and follow through. So today I hope.

Dan also doesn't sing his own songs, he never will, he's that type of fella. He'll do you a favor but you may never figure out it was he that did it. This isn't good if you’re in politics, you must have a media machine behind you and he didn't for reason I may explore later** but I digress. If you are in politics you must never do a good deed without letting everyone know you did and then never letting them forget it. It's the ego building part of the job and my husband has never needed that part, he's just always wanted to serve his neighbors and do what is right.

So anyway the next set of feelings that briefly wash over me are a terrible prediction that the new guy fails and the whole things falls to pieces without Dan. Then I say "Nah-na-na-nah nah, told you so!" After all, isn't that what everyone projects when they leave a job or an organization they gave so much too? Sounds childish, and it is. I realize that I still have to live here and if the whole village goes bankrupt any outstanding bonds will just get added to MY tax bill and I won't be able to afford to flush my toilet anymore. So reality sets in and I hope the new guy is much smarter than I give him credit for. I just can't help but be worried. The fella's been to TWO board meetings EVER. Yes, EVER in the short five years he's lived here. But here I am falling into all the million things I've been screaming in my head about for the last few weeks and it's not going to do any good. It's time too look forward again and hope.

I started this blog so that I could speak freely and anonymously about politics without alienating any of my neighbors and it's grown into a place to talk to my pals, a document of our lives, a hub of news for my family, a daily ritual, a window to you all, and a great piece of entertainment for myself. Dare I say I'm a little freer to say what I want now; though I may just leave it all behind and move forward. Revisiting and wallowing in the nitty-gritty may just make me a bitter person when really I should let go and enjoy the extra free time we'll have, the loss of stress and celebrate where we've been and continue to hope great things for us all. For now, we’ll go back to quietly sitting on the front porch sipping margaritas, watching the parade, all the while remembering how strange it is to be in the parade.

* Some of them weren't such hard decisions but you would be blown away if I told you... well, hell I can tell you now! Dan actually had citizens call and ask him if he could tell the police to stop hanging around outside the bar at 2am because they're scaring the bar patrons from driving home. First of all downtown is only two blocks long and the police station IS downtown and secondly REALLY?! REALLY?! They may have well asked him for an actual “get out of jail free card” it caused quite a ruckus around town when of course he told them no.

** The big daily news paper didn’t even realize there was a Village President race here until the results came in. The three-way Village President race wasn’t on the sample ballot, and the village board members who were listed in yesterday’s news weren’t up for re-election. Apparently no body bothered to actually check with the board of elections.


cara said...

Politics is a tough one alright. People make extraordinary demands of public representatives.That bar request just cracked me up. Insane.

A woman I know who is a public representative was asked to write a letter on behalf of the family of a rapist for his use in court! Saying he came from a solid respectable background etc. The mother told the politician her son was on suicide watch and they really needed this letter to calm him down. It is so difficult to say no when it is a friend. But then I suppose a friend should not ask.

Anyway, that is me off on a tangent. I have no doubt that Dan did himself and Pecatonica proud as Mayor. I think sometimes there is just an appetite for change for the sake of change. Relax and enjoy the next few years. His time will come again. (That last line should come with some sort of musical accompaniment!!)
Take care,

Jenny said...

Thank you.

I fear nobody (besides me) will ever see how hard he worked or all he did, funniest part is I don't think he cares if he ever get's recognition.

Chrissy said...

i had no idea dan was mayor of your town! i guess i should have figured that out?

i'm sorry dan lost the race, and i am sure he was a fantastic mayor while he served. and i'm sure that the recognition he gets from you and ella is enough for him. some people are just amazing like that. :)

Jenny said...

Thank you for your kind words.