Sometimes I felt like I was doing it right. That’s a great feeling that I held onto until the next crappy thing came along. Shakor’s words still echoed in my mind about my “non-platform”, about not playing the political game and pandering to the masses on a given topic. Apparently, providing a dedicated avenue of communication to the people wasn’t sexy and attractive, and Shakor’s bet, as well as many others, was against me securing a seat on the Council of Stellar Management.
Since announcing my candidacy, I had been following the campaigns of other candidates quite closely. Some had already taken to smear campaigns, which had never been my style. I believed that regardless of platform, it should be conducted with integrity and not resort to mud-slinging. The other interesting thing I had noted was that as new candidates entered this political arena, many were presenting a platform of community, the same platform I had unsuccessfully stood on for the past four years. Maybe the system itself was being challenged. Maybe others were seeing what I had seen all along. Maybe it was time for growth. In the end, it wouldn’t matter which of us got on the Council, provided that the integrity and dedication of being diligent and available to the community remained intact. That’s what was important. That is what the CSM was about.
So yeah, I hold onto little victories where I can.
There was also another interesting occurrence early in my campaign.
“The Alliance I represent would be pleased to meet discreetly with you to discuss how we could be of mutual benefit to each other.” It was an anonymous message, much like I had received last year. Much like last year, I wasn’t interested, but was always open to hearing thoughts and engaging in conversation to better my understanding of the views of others. Granted, I wouldn’t allow myself to be physically present for such a conversation – I was far smarter than that, having seen firsthand the backlash that could occur from a single misstep in the public eye.
Instead, I had arranged for a secured transmission, though I had no doubt it would be recorded by the other party.
“I must confess, we’re disappointed you have chosen not to meet with us in person. It’s always good to talk eye to eye with potential friends.” the conversation began.
“Get used to disappointment. Life is full of them.” I said without hostility.
“True. Let’s get to it then. I know your time is valuable. I represent one of the larger capsuleer alliances in New Eden and we are, shall we say, disappointed with not only the current crop of candidates, but with the electoral process as a whole. It’s a broken system and we believe you’re the candidate to change the future.”
I had to wonder how many others they had flattered with these same compliments. That was the thing with agendas. It was rarely about the person you were trying to persuade and rather about just having someone pliable to do your bidding.
“I won’t push anyone’s agenda, so if that’s where this is going, we can finish up our conversation now.” I replied bluntly, again without any ire or hostility.
“No, no, nothing so obvious. We simply want to make our opinions known, and if I recall correctly, that is what your platform promises, isn’t it? That you will listen to every viewpoint, be available to every capsuleer with a well thought out opinion?”
“Absolutely that is my position. So why all the cloak and dagger if you merely want me to do what I was already going to do?” There was always an angle. I wasn’t seeing it.
“We’ll secure you enough votes to get on the Council. Once you’re an active councilman, we will present to you our documented opinions on several key topics. For each topic you get pushed through the Council table, we will deposit 10 billion isk into the account of your choice, as a token of appreciation for hearing our point of view. Consider it support of your campaign.”
“Listen” I said, out of patience. “I’m always happy to listen to well presented and thought out opinions; that’s part of what the role of a Council should be. If a topic you have an interest in comes up at the table, your position will be presented with the same validity as every other opinion presented. After that, if the Council discusses and happens to agree with your position, it won’t be because I pushed it, it will be because we decided as a body that it would be the best course of action. There will be no other agenda with me. I speak for the people. Period.”
“Just the same, you stand to become a very rich man. Thank you for your consideration. It is all we can ask for.”
The call concluded.
Great, just great. I thought to myself. Even when I stood by my beliefs and maintained my integrity, it was still going to look like I was in some Alliance’s back pocket. That next crappy thing didn’t take long at all.