”Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Well it is over. Finally! Elections where held for our Resident Council where I live. Maybe now the weirdness between neighbors will come to an end.

This is the good news. The bad news is that we’ll do this crap all over again next September.

Someone however, had given my name to run for Vice President, but I said “NO WAY!”, just more emphatically if you catch my drift.

In our Resident Council, there are four positions: President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Pretty simple stuff.

This year however, we had THREE people running for the President nomination of the Resident Council. I have not in my years of living here, ever seen more than two. This time, there was three. For Vice President, there were two. And oddly enough the person running for Secretary was running without an opponent. And two for Treasure, but one bowed out at the very last and final minute.

So basically, only President and Vice President offices today were the full extent of our elections.

What really gets to me, is that each person running was asked to say a final comment or two about why they were running for whatever office. My theories on this place and how these speeches decide the winners both proved me right and wrong.

Let me share with you the speeches for the three who were running for President:

#1- If I am elected into office again, I will do to the best of my ability to work with everyone living here to make sure that all the needs of the residents are met as I work along side staff. (Side note: this person had been President of the Resident Council back when I moved here in 2005. He was already in place at that time. “Staff” was meant by the apartment manager and our esteemed social worker.)

#2- I just wanna say that if I am elected into office, then I want to go and see everyone. I want to go and visit each and every single apartment building and go into the homes of everyone that lives here and talk with them.

#3- If I am elected into office, I will do the best to my ability to make sure that we continue on in our projects that we have outstanding. You know, the ones we have going on right now. (Also side note: this person was already in office, but as Vice President, and was running for President.)

I kid you not… I have not edited, censored, or even paraphrased anything. These were verbatum speeches that happened today.

Vice President speeches were a little off because one candidate spoke, then got out of line and started on a tangent about security. But nobody stopped that person from going on and on about it. When they were finished speaking, the person who was President and running the meeting simply said that it should be discussed at another time. The other candidate for VP wasn’t even present.

If you aren’t going to be present during the monthly meeting in which elections are held, and you are running for office: Chances are, you aren’t going to win. And that’s what happened in the VP race.

But going back to these speeches for the office of President. Who do you think won out of the three? That’s right! #1 .. and from what I am told, blew everyone out of the water. But that is speculatory and heresay.

I was absolutely horrified to hear the speech of #2. Wanting to come into EVERYONE’S HOME? Seriously??? You’ve been living here how many years and have not gone to visit your neighbors– why??

I don’t know. But that really scared the crap out of me personally. I’m not going to allow him to just knock on my door whenever he wants to and allow him to get away with it, just because he’s been elected President. Are you on drugs??

Poor #3 though, I think that she just couldn’t come up with anything that was better than #1 and knew it, and had defeated herself knowing that she could not do it. And went into panic trying to come up with something that sounded proper.

As I said, someone had nominated me for Vice President. But I’ve had my share of “politics” here along with the Resident Council already.

Back in 2006, I ran for President and I did not know until two days before the election that I had someone running against me. I thought I had it in the bag.

I ran against a woman who was originally from England. Even back then, the speeches were very important. She said:

“If I am elected President, then I will thank you from the bottom of my heart. And if not, that’s okay too. If you want to vote for this fine, handsome gentleman, then that is okay with me. I will not show any hatred towards anyone who does not vote for me…..”.

Clearly she was speaking of me as the “fine, handsome gentleman.”, but then it got worse:

“….. I do not hate against people. I do not discriminate against Brits, Asians, Yanks, Mexicans, I don’t discriminate against blacks, whites, reds, tans, browns, yellows, alien purple, or green. I do not discriminate against man or against woman. Nor people with walkers, scooters, wheelchairs, or canes. I do not discriminate against those who are young and those who are old. Babies, mothers, fathers, grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, or brothers.  I do not discriminate against the rich or the poor. Those who have cars or those who have trucks. Those who have more than one vehicle or those who have one vehicle or those who have no vehicles at all. I do not discriminate against those who walk. I do not discriminate against those who ride bicycles, tricyles, or buggies or even wheelbarrels. I do not discriminate against those who are tall, I do not discriminate against those who are short. I do not discriminate for those who are medium height. I do not discriminate at all. So please vote for me. If not, please vote or him.”

You know that whole ideal behind the “slow clap”? Yeah, that’s what happened.

Two things happened when she sat down all of a sudden. The first thought that popped into my head was, “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over?”.

And then I was waiting for her to finish all of her phrases with “Sam, I am.” 

And then they asked me to speak. I said:

“I promised that I would run in 2006. I have kept my promise. And I promise you that I will do whatever I can, to the best of my abilities to help make this complex a more enjoyable and loving place to live, and I will listen to any and all concerns that any of the residents may have during the time I am in office. With the help of staff, I will work swiftly to resolve any and all issues and/or problems. Thank you.”

Wanna guess who won? I did. Really- a no brainer.

I said three sentences in total. The woman said THREE MINUTES worth of “stuff”.

So I do firmly believe that at least here, people are listening. They may have their favorites running for office and they will show up for support and their vote. But they listen.  At least that’s how it was in 2006.

These two off the wall and very unstable speeches TODAY though from candidates #2 and #3… I don’t see how they could expect to win?!

Therefore in this case, my theory on speeches and the elections that are held here, remain true. But there’s more to it, because I was also wrong in a theory.

When I was President in 2006, at the time the term was for six months. And you could run as many times as you would like. At the end of my six months, or near it I should say.. the social worker that was “new” here, noticed there were no bylaws to go by when holding elections.

It was decided that a committee would get together and write them. I remember researching the Internet on how an example of bylaws would look like. I spent an entire Sunday afternoon and evening, drafting up a rough copy of bylaws that would be put in place here. Then I presented it to the committee. At the time, it was no surprise that nobody else had anything of their own. Minus the social worker. She had printed off an example of someone else’s bylaws. But my copy was more specific towards the apartment complex here.

I would say about 95% of what I had written for our bylaws, was actually approved by this committee. Only two sentences were struck from different places. We had changed the term of holding office to twelve months (1 year). And the person could run again for a consecutive second year, but then had to “bow out” so to speak for one year before running for that same office again in the future.

We realized that six months was just not enough time for any one person to get used to holding and running meetings each month. Heck, by the time I reached my end I was just getting started getting used to banging a gavel at unruly people, saying shit like “duly noted” and “the motion passes”. Stuff like that.

So I ran again, knowing that this was my “second term” and if I were to win, I would have to wait one year before running for President again.

And this is where the speeches from TODAY had proven my theory wrong.

I don’t really recall what all I had said in the fall of 2006, but I was asked to speak first. I did so, and then the other candidate spoke. Then the same for the other people running for the other offices. Each person that spoke LAST, was elected. I lost that election, by one vote. (That was not the case TODAY.)

I ran again in September of 2007. At a “political party” that was supposed to be provided with food and drinks and allowed all of the nominees to walk around to the residents and talk with them. But no, that particular day… just minutes before I left to attend, I received a phone call and was told that someone dear to me had been killed in a car accident. Needless to say, that this whole idea of going around, talking individually to other residents went right out the window and I was asked to speak about why I wanted to run for President. I chose not to speak at all, stating that I could not speak because of the terrible news that I had received only minutes earlier. My brain was still in the processing mode… and they wanted me to speak? No.

So I lost that election as well, because there was no speech. And I was expected to speak first.

Speeches though, capture the attention of the residents here where I live. I think that today’s example, #1 candidate for President was able to sway some voters.. after hearing the rubbish that came from #2 and #3.

Even at a mediocre level, such as an apartment complex, politics are just as bad. For many months, after the announcement of who was running for whatever office, the terror begins. The cliques gather forces unto themselves and people begin not to like one another for only those reasons. 

For now… that’s all over. With the elections done. Does anyone think I should run for any office at all in 2012?

 

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