Looking forward to political season on the Rock this year | Rockin’ A Hard Place

It must be something in the air that makes it so difficult for us Rock dwellers to agree on anything. Maybe it’s another effect of pollen from evergreen trees. In addition to sinusitis.

It must be something in the air that makes it so difficult for us Rock dwellers to agree on anything. Maybe it’s another effect of pollen from evergreen trees. In addition to sinusitis.

“The sky’s so blue today!” I exclaim to my friend over coffee. “No it’s not! It’s yellow with wispy white clouds,” she responds. “I saw orcas in Penn Cove yesterday!” I proclaim. “Not a chance. The Orca Network said on Facebook that they weren’t anywhere near here,” she corrects.

“I always watch the news on Channel 4,” I announce. “Not me. I don’t like the woman who fills in for Steve Pool on the weather,” she argues.

And so it goes. On the Rock, disagreement is an essential element of our social contract. We have stiff necks and strong opinions, and that’s why we like each other. Of course it’s nothing new.

The Native American tribes on the Rock disagreed all the time about fish and deer and oysters, and probably the weather and orcas, as well.

Only during the occasional potlatch did they drink enough alcohol to agree on a few things. Sort of like what happens at the neighborly potlucks we modern Rock dwellers hold.

And that’s why I love following our Rock politics, which are so deliciously disagreeable. Love jets! Hate jets! Charge bus fares! Keep buses free! Development = more jobs! Development = fewer trees! Tourists bring dollars! Tourists bring traffic! Avoid Oak Harbor! Avoid Langley! I’m right and you’re not just wrong, but damned wrong!

This is an “off year” for elections, which means our politics may be even juicier. For instance, all three incumbent mayors on our island have decided not to run for reelection.

Just a coincidence? Or has the job become too disagreeable? Mayor Nancy Conard in Coupeville is retiring after 20 years.  She says “it’s time for me to take some time.”

Mayor Scott Dudley in Oak Harbor is sick to death of the people he serves with on the City Council, especially those determined to stink up Windjammer Park with a new sewer plant. So he showed them a thing or two by refusing to run for re-election.

And Fred McCarthy, appointed mayor of Langley in 2013 after his predecessor resigned in a scandal, said he won’t run because he wants time to ride his motorcycle, write a book, sail his boat and take graduate courses. That’s lovely, but isn’t that what all Rock dwellers say – and do – every day?  Isn’t it why we live here?

I wonder if serving in a political position on our beloved Rock has become a detriment to achieving the personal bliss we’re famous for.

Perhaps power and glory interfere with good karma. Of course that’s not unique to Whidbey. Just take a look at the number of folks bailing from Congress and the Legislature these days.

It will be good to have our treasured retiring mayors and other quitting politicians back among us. After all, it’s the unelected that really get things done on the Rock.

We clean up trash on the roads, grow vegetables for food banks, fix up rundown homes, give our money for just about every good purpose, and, yes, even serve on government boards and commissions.

Welcome, long-suffering, soon-to-be former political leaders.

You’ll now have the chance to engage in the same good works and thorough, unending disagreements the rest of us enjoy so much.

And you won’t have to watch what you say.


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