(Note to readers from afar: This blog, despite my increasing neglect of things local, is not called New Paltz Journal for nothing. We just had an election here, in the village. The village of New Paltz is the small core settlement, with its own government, within the much larger town of New Paltz, which also has a government. The village elections ended with catastrophic results, returning to office Jason West, the former boy mayor who back in 2004 secretly contrived to officiate at an extravaganza of “gay weddings” that earned him his fifteen minutes of fame. He intends to live off those fifteen minutes for the rest of his life.)
First question: Does any of this really make a difference in the big scheme of things? I think the answer is yes, because the big scheme of things begins in the small scheme of things, with individuals, families and, in their own way, villages.
So, this election does make a difference, but it’s a decidedly bad difference. The adults fell asleep, again, and here comes the proverbial reheated souffle of the insufferable Jason West, Part II.
West is essentially an overgrown youth-cult teenage Leftist activist who is now 34 years old. He’s a Green, of course, “workshopped” to perfection, with all the silly blabber that goes with that. He rushes out the urgent lingo of process and planning, speaking in winding, therapeutic and pastel tones. He has plans for everything (When I first saw his “100 Ideas for New Paltz” at that link, I asked why “A dicatorship of the proletariat” was left off the list. I guess it was just implied.)
Getting rid of him four years ago was a great victory for the adults who care about the village. His return this year was, unfortunately, not taken very seriously. In my own case, I made the mistake of thinking that his “fan base” had evaporated and that there was no longer any reason why people who had once supported him would vote for him again. That was a classic mistake, on my part, because I know better than most how West’s personality type never gives up and is always lactating with the milk of desire for the power to plan everyone else’s life, no matter how small the venue. (His proposed wetlands law, which really got my attention and was never passed, was a totalitarian plumber’s snake up the rear of everyone’s property.)
One of the things that I keep forgetting, ironically, is that most people pay only cursory attention to the government of a small village and, without regular reminders, forget the character profile of characters like West. No one, myself included, really wanted to dig down into the deeper details of West’s performance as mayor after the last episode, because it is just a relief when such an outsized narcissist is removed from power in civic life. The mind resists dwelling on the phenomenon once it is gone, not having needed the bother in the first place.
But with this election West showed that he knew how to find the local chapter of the great herd of independent minds and lead it back into his fogged up wilderness of Green collectivism. He had help in that exercise, from some people who should have known better and some who never will.
This is not a situation where one says, “Oh, everybody makes mistakes, let’s give him another chance. He means well.” No, this is a situation where one has already seen enough. Never give someone like this another chance at bossing you around.
But, now this election is done, and this is history repeating itself, the first time as tragedy, the second as farce. The adults need to get busy containing it.