In an article for the Eye On Annapolis blog, Fox assured us that we had "valid and respectable" reasons for being Democrats and Republicans. But that our positions regarding taxes and spending, size and role of government and healthcare policies, Fox says, "are state and federal issues and have NO PLACE in our local municipality!"
Intrigued as I am by novel approaches to politics, I decided to try and draw Mr. Fox out on a few points. Politics is, after all, a base or instinctual trait exhibited by most species of primate in the way they socialize and behave in groups. The human species, overwhelmed as it is by its cavernous cranium, stuffed with grey matter, has turned politics into an art and even a science. How are we to deny our natural instincts in this regard?
"So partisanship has a place in state and national affairs, but when we serve on the City Council or as Mayor, we must shed our party affiliation.... What do we use as a guide? If not ideology, then what? Perhaps an eye for the bottom line? Moral values? Whose morals? Personal interests and patronage are probably the only true bipartisan approaches to governance."Fox demurred when I asked him, for the record, where he stood on state and national issues, you know, where partisanship is allowed. I didn't think much more about it until the Thomann affair caused me to do some research on a few partisans. Well it turns out the Greg Stiverson, Ward 6 candidate for City Council, is squarely in the Fox camp when it comes to partisan politics in Annapolis:
"Fundamentally, I believe Annapolis needs nonpartisan elections. Every other city in Maryland, with the exception of Frederick and Baltimore, has nonpartisan municipal elections. State and national politics have virtually nothing to do with issues of local concern."There is something about being labeled with an 'R' or a 'D' that Stiverson finds objectionable, though he'll tell you he has been a proud Republican for 41 years. But if elected, his number one priority will be to get the Council to approve nonpartisan city elections. I am not sure what that is. Can someone tell me what a nonpartisan city election is?
What is the real goal? I think it is to remove ideology from municipal governance, not party affiliation. But I don't think you can separate humans from their ideology merely by banning the 'R's and the 'D's from election ballots. And I don't think Fox and Stiverson are naive enough to think such a thing is possible. So what would "nonpartisan elections" give us? The next best thing, of course: an excuse for not taking a stand, cover for bending to the prevailing winds of political pressure and influence, without having to answer to this party or that.
So they can have "pride" in their party's ideology, privately, within backslapping range, you know, when raising money and getting key endorsements is important. I guess the only things that count in nonpartisan elections is money and power. At least in regular elections, no one is trying to hide behind some false front of purity in governance, selfless public servitude. In partisan elections, everyone knows what they are getting themselves into when they vote and they have a right to hold elected leaders to account when they buck the party line.