Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A Unicorn In Every Garage And A Gay Marriage In Every Pot

Rebecca Livengood's case for her own re-election:
Since I arrived in New Haven three years ago, my experiences in the community have shaped my understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing our city. I have seen this firsthand as I have worked with student groups and community leaders in seeking responsible development, environmental sustainability, gay rights, homelessness and security.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure she didn't mean "seeking...homelessness." Also, city governments aren't empowered to establish gay rights.

Now, taking it as read that "responsible development" is a term loaded to the point of incomprehensibility, Livengood seems to have no inkling that there could ever be a tension among goals like economic development, environmental protection, unionization -- as if there are no hard decisions, only, on the one hand, the decisions that good, community-loving, commonweal-serving progressives would make, versus, on the other hand, the decisions that nasty, rapacious (neo?)conservatives would make.

Needless to say, I second these sentiments from Jamie Kirchick, who appears to have been demoted to guest columnist:
So the crux of this race is what it always has been: not the environment, not "responsible development," not "social justice" or whatever other buzz-phrase the Undergraduate Organizing Cult wishes to blind us with. Those values are all important, but this election is about the power of national special interests to dictate local development projects.
I'm hoping to be surprised, but it's looking like the special interests win.

UPDATE: So much for pessimism. Shalek wins by 58 votes out of ~700.


At 1:25 AM, Anonymous curious said...

you seem to speak as if there were some mystical line between local and national politics which renders any interaction between the two inherently suspect. i.e., an organization such as SEIU (an international organization, no less) must, on your logic, be incapable of effecting legitimate local change because of its so-called "national" interests. what exactly are these national interests (reproduction and expansion? the status and wealth of a few elite activists?), and in what sense do you mean that they are in tension with local politics? do you think that local politics is just about the administration of some very basic needs and that (as your remark about gay rights suggests) broader issues of social, economic, and environmental justice can only properly play out in the state? do you think that any claim to justice at the local level must be rhetorical or dishonest or wide-eyed or impossible? i find that logic incoherent. you can't appeal to justice at the level of the state (assuming you do in fact claim to agree with Kirchick that the issues of justice Livengood appeals to are "all valuable") and then say that local politics--the space in which justice is actually felt and experienced--is too narrow to allow these issues any relevance. local politics may require serious attention to administration and pragmatic compromise, but that's hardly an argument against a concern with justice.


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