Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Think Globally, Act Locally?

Emily:  So Wednesdays are usually chaotic, but this week the Daddy is on a business trip, so it's a toothpicks-keeping-eyelids-open kind of morning.  This was exacerbated by the fact that my phone was dinging all night with new and - to me - silly emails from random people in my neighborhood list serve.

I've been obsessed with national politics since I was very young (maybe freakishly young), but local politics interest me far less.  I think one of the reasons is that I perceive - however unfairly - that local politics devolve into the small and petty pretty darn quickly and under little provocation.

Witness the furor over dogs-on-leashes in my neighborhood.  It's a friggin war out there, people.  People who like to let their dogs off their leads versus people who will take your picture and report you to the proper authorities if you do so.  Now, I'm sure there are good reasons for both positions, and I definitely do not want un-leashed dogs roaming my neighborhood.  But I gotta tell you, I don't understand the vitriol and the amount of time my neighbors are devoting to this.

I also know that national politics can get petty.  But I still am way more interested in national, and think that that's where more decisions should be made, partially because of local pettiness.

That's about all the time I have right now, but what do you think - are local politics more petty/personal than national?

Mandi:   Well the saying does go, "  all politics are local" for a reason.  I think in national politics the stakes are definitely higher, but people can be just as petty about national politics as they can be about local.  Witness the rumor that the reason Iraq War Part II was started was because W wanted revenge on Saddam for attempting to assassinate his father.  Or the sheer amounts of horsetrading that go on for pork spending in return for votes on key issues.  Local and national politcs are not too far apart on pettiness, just on scale.

Emily:  It is an exercise in futility for me to try to retroactively find examples of local politics being crazy-petty, as I've discovered this morning.  It's like in an argument when your spouse asks you for examples of X behavior.  It tends to take me too long to dredge those examples up to be effective (largely because I need the mental space that cataloguing and remembering such examples would take up to keep all the 80's song lyrics in my head).  So instead, every time I hear something that reminds me of this thread, I'll come back here and link to it :-)


  1. Now on the subject of dogs leashed v. unleashed, I think that dogs should be leased out in public, except for dog parks and the like, where it is understood that there will be unleashed dogs running around, and there is a defined space for that. You might think your little Pookums wouldn't harm a fly, but when confronted with a little kid, or an object that might set the animal off for some unknown reason, it is definitely better to be safe than sorry.

  2. And that's what the law is here, so you're right in line with our local legislators. But there are apparently many people who just don't follow that law. Maybe they don't know about it, or maybe they don't think they're likely to get caught, or maybe they just don't care. But the way it's played is that the woman who is getting bent out of shape about this (she has a small dog who is protective and she's worried about that) is being treated as though she'd uptight and should relax. I suspect there's some sexism there, and also a lot of dog-owners who have big dogs and don't want to keep them on a leash.