I have been recovering from this season's election-exhaustion-cold, a form of illness found only in the stuffy quarters of campaign offices nearing the dreaded daylight’s saving’s end. Here, volunteers and experts widdle down the wee hours of the night, gnawing on each passage of talking points, poll results and endless endless walking lists. This process is many months long, and intensifies as the earth glides slowly into November. I liken in to walking into an ever-narrowing hallway, with more and more exhausted staff and volunteers, until it climaxes in a tightly packed hotel room high up an away from the ballroom, where it is discovered that, once again, the young did not participate.
Leaving the old, confused, recession-addled, baby-boomers, world-war-twoers, apologies, and defeated by monopolistic capitalism, with naught but an illusion of the state of the world, let alone their cities.
Leaving the patriarchy, to decide to remain a patriarchy. An easy task, apathy. Even a hard spirit is softened by electronic soothsayers, lulled into a sleepful awakeness, zombified by instant gratification, and preserved by cheap calories and GMO corn.
So, I remember, the fifth of November.
When 15 stood in council chambers, speaking as well they could, hardly outnumbering the government itself. And spoke against an unlawful development project, proposed by recently elected Mayor Rich David, bar-owner and landlord-extraordinaire.
I hastily drafted a letter earlier in the day, exhausted, and left hardly with a voice, calling through text messages out of work. The letter implored this development not go forward, unless it be brought in full compliance with local law and custom. An easy ask, I presume, since as the creators and executors of laws, the government must be equipped with such devices as to comply with their own laws. I’m sure the task could be debated over winter and then a decision made when weather to do such work is more amiable, a sensible option, I presume, again.
But unable to attend our hearing, due to aforementioned illness related to working on political issues too much and being completely overwhelmed by the amount of money our opposition has spent against our interests, I was not able to hear a reaction if there was one at all.
This is but a symptom of a larger problem, my sickness this is, as coughs and sore throats are a symptom of my general exhaustion and utter befuddlement with man’s predicament, my exhaustion is a symptom of a lack of widespread local support for local interests.
Yes, I blame the apathy of others for our current diseased governmental institutions, and also for my own diseased condition, because I am literally throwing my life in the way of villains of monolithic [and monopolistic] proportions.
The only cure for Climate Change, Corporate Takeovers, Privatized/Capitalized Everything, Endless War and Far Slavery and Near Slavery is simple, but a difficult pill to swallow, it is one word: Participation.
Participation in your context! Your physical context!
I see folks, searching for a dream, quietly wishing themselves into success and relevance, hoping, and resenting everything standing in their way, and forgetting everything at their fingertips. Our interwoven information systems allow us to commune in a way, long unheard of.
It is the physical place you occupy, the energy you bring with you, the love you have for others, the places you go, the people you meet, and love that you spread that is real participation.
I thank the people who found enough disturbing about our own elected official’s lawlessness to show up in person! I thank you over, and over. You support your community by attending, and you show your true colors by learning, and acting.
I beseech you to continue to go! Speak up and out! Participate in the dialogue! We are mighty, we must roar!
Join us, so that we may be heard again.
I will not be roaring soon I feel, my voice has been taken by this illness.
For now, let us talk.
Join us in the PLOT!
To take grassroots
and turn them
The letter in its entirety:
Clerk, Council, and Citizens of the City of Binghamton,
My name is Cory Ray, I live in the First Ward on Clinton Street. Before Rich David was elected, I was worried things like this would start happening. With his suspicious appointment of a lawyer to an economic development position, an unrelenting expansion of police departments abilities, the disenfranchisement of the democratically built Blueprint Binghamton plans, the snowplow incident of last winter, it is painfully real to me, that this mayor is not interested in how his constituents and colleagues would like him to govern.
This recent debacle with the Metro Center plaza fits this bill perfectly, blatantly bypassing oversight committees, moving ahead with a project that seems to be in fact illegal, using money that is not earmarked for such purposes, and ignoring again the conventions of our civil institutions.
I would like to remind everyone in the chamber tonight that Mayor Rich David is a Public Servant, not a king, not a ruler, but an executive of the public will through the medium of government.
This project should be halted immediately and given its due process, and hopefully struck down by the city’s development and traffic experts.
This blatant disregard for our civil conventions and local law should not become a trend with this administration, and it would benefit us all if this was fully investigated and this behavior rectified.
As the people, we are the boss. Not the mayor.
Thank you all for coming and showing your support in a dark hour for our city.
May we carry the torch of truth, fairness and transparency another day forward.