Today Amherst is having its town election. I voted after work, but not with great confidence in some of my choices. To my surprise, since moving to Amherst I have become what I once despised in Springfield, a lazy, half-informed voter. While I still follow world, national and state politics very closely (and the politics of Springfield) I just can't seem to get engaged in the political life of Amherst.
Part of it is that I'm not used to the scale of small town politics. In Springfield you have big, complicated problems to deal with, like corruption, crime, and poverty. In the wealthy town of Amherst the issues tend to be things like does the town need a new soccer field, or does the high school teach too many foreign languages, or were the new sidewalks downtown worth the money? I try to pay attention to these controversies, but I just can't make myself care enough to focus on the details of the debates. So I don't participate politically except by voting.
Even then I lean heavily on the advice of others, in particular the wisdom of Amherst blogger Larry Kelley. He has very deep roots in the town, in fact one of his forebears was a pallbearer for Emily Dickinson. I figure if his folks were friends of Miss Emily, then they must be good people, and therefore I voted for all the candidates supported by Larry Kelley. That's my cop-out, and I'm sticking to it.
On my way to the polls to do my duty as a mindless automaton for the Kelley Machine, I saw that the laptop computer people at Rao's Coffee Shop were typing at the tables located outdoors, which is as sure a sign of Spring as a robin.
I paused to have my picture taken in front of the psychedelic poster outside the Bangs Community Center, which is where I vote.
I thought I might get some pictures of some candidates campaigning outside the polls, but there were none. The only indication that there was an election today was this sign on the front door.
I don't know what the turnout today will be, but when I voted I was the only person in the voting room besides the poll workers.
I hope that all the best candidates win, but I won't know whether they have or not until I read Kelley's election analysis tomorrow.
Elsewhere in town, the melting snow means that construction will get underway in earnest for the new science building at UMass. At present it's just a big hole in the ground, but architect's drawings suggest that when it's done it will be very impressive.
Finally, I leave you with this serving of Wavy Gravy.