Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Election day

Today is election day. The feeling is very different from a year ago, when the American people inexplicably gave George W. Bush another four years in the White House. Only a handful of interesting gubernatorial races around the country--specifically in New Jersey and Virginia--are worth the national eye, but many communities held local elections.

Here in Ward 6 of Somerville, MA, a fascinating Alderman race reached its climax today. Twenty-seven year old Rebekah Gewirtz challenged Jack Connolly, who has served as Ward 6's Alderman for 22 years. The campaign was eye-catching because of its symbolic old Somerville vs. new Somerville dynamic.

For many years, Somerville garnered the same amount of respect as, say, South Amboy does in New Jersey. With its poor, working-class base, Somerville was snobbishly called "Slummerville." Somerville's make-up, especially in the Davis Square area in which I live, began to change about ten years ago. With the booming economy of the mid to late 90s, yuppies infiltrated Somerville. In 1997, Utne Reader named Davis Square one of "the hippest places to live" in this country.

On many levels, the Rebekah Gewirtz-Jack Connolly showdown represents the changing nature of this city. Look at the names--a very Jewish one and a very Irish one. Look at Gewirtz's website and look at Connolly's. Listen to their accents.

For Gewirtz to win, she depended on voters like me--young, professional...okay, yuppies (I hate admitting I'm a yuppie). I must say I was immediately attracted to her candidacy. For the first time, I could understand the mindset of the southern voter who only votes for southern candidates for president. Like the southerner who feels he can relate to the Bushes and Clintons of the world, I felt like I could relate to Gewirtz, who like me is young and Jewish.

But I didn't want to fall into that trap. I rarely follow local happenings, so I read the local newspapers, talked to a couple people, and learned that Connolly has done a good job. While some of his decisions may be open for criticism, it doesn't sound as though he deserves to lose his job. So I voted for Connolly.

Update: In a big upset, Gewirtz defeated Connolly.


At 6:21 AM, Blogger jeffro said...

heh, heh - you said "ward."

At 9:11 AM, Blogger Dan said...

Ummm...I don't get it.

At 11:55 AM, Blogger Pete said...



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