Political Evolution

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Published: November 18, 2010 @ 7:17 AM EDT
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I’ve heard someone say that Roselle Park is “America in motion.” Our Mayor is the President, our Council-at-Large the Senator representing the whole constituency, the Council is the House of Representatives representing smaller constituencies, and the Council President is the Speaker of the House. Now, I cannot coin the term “America in motion” or the analysis… But you have to admit, it makes sense. The Roselle Park municipal government is a microcosm of the United States federal government in all ways but one. Politics.

Today, as a nation, we find ourselves politically polarized to the point of legislative gridlock by issues like healthcare reform, immigration policy, foreign policy, fiscal policy, and national security. Why? Haven’t we realized that it just doesn’t work? On the national level, we’re playing a metaphorical game of ‘Deal or No Deal.’ And for whatever reason, we continually play the game, pressing our luck… But for what? A win in the political play book?

It’s just not worth it. And, unfortunately, I feel that this is the thing that many Washington politicians overlook. When we, the American voting populous, step within the curtained booth of the polling place we no cling to the identity of a Democrat, Republican, or Libertarian. When we vote, we silently state that, “I am a citizen of the United States of America, with all the rights and duties thereof, and I bear faith in my vote and in these individuals, that will carry out the will of the people.”

In Roselle Park, for whatever reason, we seem to understand this. Over the last 16 years this town has elected the same Republican Mayor four (4) times. This year, although a different candidate, the people again elected a Republican Mayor as well as two Council people. So what right? So Roselle Park is a Republican town, big deal. Actually, the fact is quite the contrary… Roselle Park’s voting breakdown shows that Republican voters are outnumbered two-to-one by Democrats. In another twist of events, it seems that Roselle Park voters don’t toe the party line when voting. In this past election, the Republican Mayoral Candidate won by margin of 231 votes, whereas the Republican Congressional candidate found victory in Roselle Park by just over 100 votes.

So what’s the bottom line? It simply seems like Roselle Park voters get it. It’s the person that matters, not the Party. It is the ideas and the will of the candidate that matter, not the platform of some national organization. If you had to make an argument, it looks like Roselle Park voters vote from the bottom of the line up; not from the column letter down.

In Roselle Park politics there’s a saying – A Republican can’t win without the support of Democrats, and a Democrat can’t win without the support of Republicans. To that I would add, only together can we move forward and only divided can we fail. This borough is far from perfect, and sure, there are any number of things that one could point to for a complaint. But I think that the citizens of Roselle Park need to take pride in the fact that we, as small community of 13,000 in central New Jersey have evolved faster than the United States government in which founded ourselves on. Yes, there is so much potential in our Republic, just imagine what it could be like if Washington followed in our example.

– Andrew J. Casais