“I don’t know what to do.”
When you enter the realm of public service, you sacrifice a large part of your private life. You will be in the center of things like a sun, when people revolves around you like they’re planets needing your energy to guide them around.
Eighteen years old and newly elected to the council, she was so many called the reluctant servant. A grandchild of the top dog, she was being groomed to take over once her grandfather call it quits or when fate forces him to surrender his leadership.
“You can learn on the job,” I suggested, still confused why voters deemed her eligible for what should have been an alderman’s post. “Your colleagues will give you a hand.”
“But they are all old,” she complained, citing the obvious. “They would just scold me if I make a mistake.”
I was not sure if I wanted to scold her myself for running for office at the behest of her family. She should have thought the problems she would face inside the council when she won.
“Grow older,” I jested, thinking of a positive way to motivate her. “You will be the voice of the new generation.”
“Yeah, right!” she swore. “I could not even win an argument at home, what more in the council. Grandpa will make sure of that.”
In such case, she had a point. Her outlooks in life differed with the older generation. What was supposed to be suited to the modern times, the rest of the more conservative members of the council would see to it that she would falter.
“Did you ask your grandpa why he made you run?” I asked contemplatively. I sought a specific motive for the unusual political maneuver.
“You see, he was afraid that some of the opposition will win, which we know happened: four won. That will make it four as his allies, including me.”
“So, when there is a tie, he can easily break it with his vote. Brilliant!”
“No opposition initiatives would prosper.”
This is a small village but the strategies of local leaders could compete to those in the national scene. I was not amazed because the reaches of media through television had disseminated once unknown information to the masses. Back then, when leaders told followers to jump, they would jump. Today, they would ask why.
“What if you believe that the opposition has some good ideas for the village, will you vote with them?”
“I don’t want to create a family quarrel,” she replied, indirectly saying no.
“So, it will be a sham.” I shook my head repeatedly, unable to repress my disappointment. “You will sit there as if you are part of it but not part of it.”
“If you have a better idea, I am listening,” she said, keeping her options open, which gave me some hope.
“Talk to the opposition and hear their side. Then, talk to your grandpa at home. During the session, you raise the issue yourself.”
“I could act as the common denominator,” she sighed, beaming contentedly. “They will listen to me.”
“Do you think you can do it?” I winked.