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Oh, SmAlbany!

Daily posts and occasional longer essays about politics, culture, and life in the Capital Region...updated M-F, midmorning


"I write this not as a booster of Albany, which I am, nor an apologist for the city, which I sometimes am, but rather as a person whose imagination has become fused with a single place, and in that place finds all the elements that a man ever needs..." -W. Kennedy, from O Albany!

Don't forget to vote...

Today is election day for most school budgets around the region. Don't forget to vote!


UPDATE (5/17, 8:07pm): Just got back from voting at Goodrich School on Fiddlers Rd. The thing that struck me most is how quiet the voting place was. Just me, SJC, and a lady at a desk in a elementary school gym. Made me think of Richard Bensel's book, The American Ballot Box in the Mid-Nineteenth Century, which describes a time when polling sites were anything but calm, and often included parades, bands, fights, and bribery:
At the ground level of American politics in the 1850's, party agents were compelled to appeal to the ideational understandings of the common man, a common man who rarely understood or cared about the great economic policies and debates that dominated legislative halls and congressional chambers. There was thus an independent, almost autonomous sociology to the American polling place in the mid-nineteenth century. Viewed from above, it constituted an underworld of small-time intrigue, petty scandal, and parochial gossip. But when seen from below, the American polling place was a rich brew of community norms, traditions, customs, and contestation - a place where popular culture met and was transformed by great political economic forces and interests. And unlike the often funeral placidity of contemporary polling places, it was exciting.
Indeed.
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