(Here is the home page of NeilAquino.com)
I know this is how it is done and how it has often been done in American history. But just because things are normally done in a certain way does not mean you can't move ahead in a different fashion.
(Above--Ben Hall is on the right with a man holding a Hispanic Pastors for Ben Hall sign. Mr. Hall is clear that he supports Hispanics and God.)
Democrat Annise Parker has been Mayor of Houston since January of 2010 and is an honest enough and knowledgeable public official in a conventional sense.
Ben Hall is also a Democrat. I'm not certain why he is running as he has not to this point shown any clear ideological or policy differences from Mayor Parker. I get the impression he would very much like to be Mayor.
In any case, anybody who has had the misfortune of following Houston politics knows how this will all go---
Mayor Parker and Mr. Hall will spend a lot of money. Much of this money will come from big companies and the rich. Issues of poverty and social justice in Houston will be ignored. Turnout will be 15%-20% of eligible adults. There will be ceaseless negative ads and many of them will be stupid. Neither candidate will get 50% of the vote on Election Day and so we will be subjected to more weeks of campaigning with a runoff vote.
None of this reflects the values of hopeful people. Not much of it reflects anything of value to the people of Houston. Mayor Parker and Mr. Hall will go at it and people will tune it out or just think of both of them as equally bad. Only a small percentage of Houstonians will bother to vote.
Without forgetting the many volunteers each campaign will have of committed everyday people, none of this will inspire people to take action for themselves and with others to offer alternatives from the bottom and middle up to a failed and corporate-bought political system.
I'm on the e-mail list of both the Hall and Parker campaigns. Just today I've received three negative e-mails from these two campaigns. I've resolved today that I'm going to donate 25 cents to Amnesty International for every negative e-mail I get from Parker and Hall.
We can't change how people running for office behave. We can't stop folks from responding to negative attacks if they choose. But we can as individuals and by working together create new and more hopeful value systems.
We can understand that there are people in the U.S. and across the world who take real risks for freedom while we get the corporate-owned rottenness of the modern American political campaign. It is the people who take these risks that Amnesty International works to protect.
The optimistic work of freedom is up to each of us. Don't let people acting in a harmful manner define our politics and our society. Take hard-working steps on your own to define our city, nation and world in the tough-minded hopeful terms of the power of everyday people to create something better. Please consider responding to negative actions in a positive forward-looking way.
Below--Mayor Parker speaking to a packed house. Maybe she was also pouring the drinks.