During the last election cycle, I had the opportunity to get involved in Fairfax County politics: as a volunteer for one of the major political parties. I was involved in many campaign activities. At one point, I was involved in door to door campaigns to popularize the candidate I was campaigning for. At another point, I was involved in the organization of rallies and town hall meetings. And at yet another point, I found myself involved in the exercise known as ‘getting out the vote’. And towards the end of the adventure, I was engaged as an agent at a polling station. This was also the time when I was trying to set up a business in Fairfax County, and it was a delicate balancing act which I nonetheless enjoyed a great deal.
As I got more and more deeply engaged in Fairfax County politics, it soon became clear to me that the politics of this particular county are actually very complicated. And it occurred to me that the main reason as to why the Fairfax County politics tend to be so complicated is because there are many vested (and hugely divergent) interests. The complexity emerges when the people try to identify the candidates who are best placed to protect their special interests. The challenge is, of course, in the fact that one group’s interests tend to be detrimental to another group. And often, you will find a candidate who is keen on protecting certain interests, notwithstanding the fact that his party is (generally) known to stand for something else.
The resultant complexity is hard to deal with. I got the impression that the exercise of navigating through Fairfax County politics is actually more complex than that of programming an online payroll system: like, say, the Securitasepaytalx paperless pay accounting system. That is because when dealing with the programming task, you are dealing with logic. You know, pretty much for sure, that if you do ABC, you will get outcome XYZ. On the other hand, when dealing with Fairfax County politics, you are dealing with human being. The complexities of human psychology, social dynamics and other such things come into play – making the whole thing very complicated. Of course, the fun of the game is in trying to get positive outcomes, in spite of the complexities.