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mailmanOn Tuesday evening, August 27th, a group of local Democrats tried to get the Republican candidate for Town Clerk onto the Democratic ballot line by nominating her at the Democratic caucus.  It was all very legal, but I have to question the degree to which democracy (little "d") was involved.  Had the maneuver been successful a real election for Town Clerk would have been prevented since the same candidate would have been running on both the Democratic and Republican lines.  Fortunately, democracy prevailed and Tammy Morse, a well-trained, experienced, and highly qualified Democrat was elected to run in November on the Democratic line.

"Oh, there could still be an election," we're told, even if the Republican succeeded in winning the Democratic ballot line.  "Someone could run a write-in campaign."  Like that's going to be successful when one candidate is from a long established Lansing family and is currently holding the job thanks to political patronage, while the other, albeit with much more experience as a municipal Clerk, is much newer to town.

The comments and discussion which preceded the vote opened up a cultural issue in the town which is seldom voiced publicly and has to do with perceived differences in the way people in Lansing are accepted depending on how long they've lived here and/or how deep their roots.  The comments made were from the heart, but were not always tactful.  Nevertheless they all seemed like sincere expressions of deep feelings of lack of acceptance by one group and pride in family roots by the other.  Comments such as these are often hard to listen to if one likes to think of Lansing as a welcoming place for everyone.

I was left wondering how we might move forward from the conversation that took place. Might the discussion at caucus provide an opening for a frank and straightforward conversation among Lansing Democrats that is probably long overdue and has the potential to improve communications and break down barriers among us?  It would be great to see the same Democrats that sponsored a Republican candidate at our Democratic caucus actually attend and participate in Democratic politics at the local level so we could all get to know each other better.  Who knows what might come of more communication and respectful discussion?  

Pat Pryor
Lansing, NY
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