30 January 2015
Last night I went to a forum where four candidates for Madison mayor introduced themselves and laid out their ideas for change. The good news is that I would be happy to vote for any one of them if it comes down to a choice between reelecting Mayor Soglin or opting for a new start, as it may well do.
I thought often about the class backgrounds of these four candidates, or what I could discern of those backgrounds, and their ways of speaking. A mayor should be a competent rhetor -- a good communicator. Knowledge of the issues is important, but Einstein's dictum that "imagination is more important than knowledge" applies to political leadership too. Getting people excited about new possibilities, or riled up about assaults on their human integrity, is the work of rhetorical imagination.
With this imperative in mind I've decided to support Scott Resnick in the primary next month.
I'll conclude by gently admonishing Madison's liberal and progressive voters that catty side-swiping at our neighbors' perceived deficiencies is an unworthy use of our breath. (I say this as one who's done a fair share of it in the past.) Let's be wary of Pharisaism towards each other. I hope that Freddie deBoer's lament that "the prohibition against ever telling anyone to be friendlier and more forgiving is so powerful and calcified it’s a permanent feature of today’s progressivism" can be turned into rejoicing.