New York Minute
Some political fates are determined by large, global trends that sweep up everyone in their path. Some turn on individuals, the sheer will and determination of those involved (or conversely their stupidity and laziness). Still others turn on tiny, inconsequential and random events beyond anyone's control. And whether a national trend, an individual player, or a flip of the coin, the consequences often play out in surprising ways.
This thought is nothing new. It is one everyone learns at various points in their lives. And usually it is one we quickly forget until reminded again. It is one I was reminded of when out on my morning run and the great Eagles' New York Minute popped up on my iPod.
When I was eight or nine I heard Jesse Jackson give a speech. I told my mom how cool he sounded and she should go work for him. She did. That job caused her to later get hired by Michael Dukakis. That in turn brought her to Phil Angelides and then the Capitol community. That is how I met Jim Wisley who brought me into the small family of redistricting nerds. Wisley's personal history in Fullerton and my personal history with a feminist mother caused the two of us to hatch a plan to defeat Chris Norby. And with it came the two-thirds.
Now perhaps Norby would have lost no matter these individual efforts. Certainly the state's growing Latino population and the Obama bump played their part. And certainly it was a random chance that a photographer caught that great imager of Brandi Chastain's shocked face when Norby attacked Title IX and put himself on the target list. But just as possibly an inconsequential twenty-five year old speech by Jesse Jackson also played its part.
As I was running this thought was rattling around in my head. I also thought about all the global trends, critical individual decision and random moments of fate that could have moved 500 votes in the Controller contest. I thought about all the other factors that will impact the coming game of political musical chairs as one generation steps out of the political limelight. Finally I thought about how to avoid downtown traffic when on foot... seriously the walk sign means wait until I am out of the crosswalk to make your right turn people.