One of the lessons reinforced by last year’s “Horse’s Ass” campaign, was that people are willing to put at least as much effort into a good joke as a good cause. And if you can combine the two, all the better.
Well, I want to thank all of you who answered my rather sophomoric call to participate in the Weekly’s Best of Seattle 2004 ballot, and name me the Reader’s Pick for “Best Activist/Hell-Raiser.”
David Goldstein lives up to this title. He’s extremely active (at least when it comes to hating antitax advocate Tim Eyman), and he definitely likes to raise hell (exemplified by Initiative 831, his attempt to officially declare Eyman “a horse’s ass”). Goldstein’s passion even led him on an Internet campaign to win this category as a statement against Eyman, and it worked. www.horsesass.org.
I am extremely honored — well, at the very least, rather amused — by your efforts on my behalf. Sure, “best of” polls like this are rather bogus (as evidenced by my selection,) but any opportunity to make last year’s winner, Tim Eyman, gag on his morning latte is well worth it. Plus, it made my mother’s day.
On a more serious note, it once again shows how a little bit of effort by a modest number of people can help shape the political debate. When I asked supporters to write and phone their legislators, we got a hearing on the Property Tax Homestead Exemption. When we emailed the Public Disclosure Commission, we got an investigation. And when we decided to use the Weekly’s best of poll to stick it to Timmy… we stuck it to Timmy.
Politicians and journalists seem to be under the mistaken impression that Eyman commands some kind of army of loyal, dedicated activists.
Sure, his email list may still be bigger than ours, but when it comes to dicks like Tim, size doesn’t matter. Indeed, a few weeks ago, when he repeatedly emailed his list, asking them to join him in Olympia for his I-864 failure photo-op, not a single supporter showed up.
His claims not withstanding, Tim Eyman does not represent the majority of Washington voters. The majority of voters do not want to dramatically cut state and local government, eliminate essential services, privatize schools, sell off parks and close libraries. The majority of voters do not want slot machines on every corner of every Main Street in the state.
Do the majority of voters want lower taxes? Sure. Hell, I want lower taxes! I’d also like to be able fly above Seattle traffic in my own personal helli-car.
Voters understand that you don’t get something for nothing, and if we all do our best to educate our fellow citizens that that’s exactly what Eyman is peddling, his initiatives won’t stand a chance.
Sometimes it’s enough to participate in a stupid little joke. But sometimes we all need to do a little bit more. So today we can sit back and enjoy this tiny, symbolic victory… and then redouble our efforts to defeat I-892 in November.