"But you're my friend... and you should vote to elect (or appoint) me to public office" to which we ought to also add; whether I'm qualified or not. "You're my friend and you should support the candidate I support"; because you're my friend, and he's my friend, and it doesn't matter if he, or she, is qualified for that office.
Because you're my friend...
How often do we hear this, or feel the statement's being made, whether explicitly or implicitly? And from someone we may only occasionally see, perhaps at church or around town?
We listen to others, or our "friend," tell us about this and that candidate for elected or appointed office.
.. and then complain about the results, without paying attention to those little things that tell, as the late great Paul Harvey was wont to say, the rest of the story.
Let's take Red Bank for example. Red Bankians have complained about transients and those who rent houses or apartments for years but turn right around and elect a man who, excuse me, does what for a living? Owning rental property means that one rents to transients or others who, for one reason or another, don't own a home. I rented for years, because it was convenient, I didn't have to deal with maintenance issues I didn't want to deal with, and I could be gone for several weeks at a time for work without really having to worry about much. But he's going to get rid of the renters, someone who owns rental property? Red Bankians have likewise complained about their school board member and county commissioners coming from "that mountain, yonder." But they'll vote for the least qualified of the gang in a contested race... and the one least likely to care about their needs, if they barely look below the surface of the campaign bravo sierra. To be sure, many don't even bother to vote, but that's nothing more than acquiescence and allowing the opposition to have their way with Red Bank.
It isn't any secret there's no love lost between me and the majority of lawyers, especially when the, then current, big mahmoo of the Hamilton County Bar Association told me "I wrote that" during a discussion of the bill mandating a pilot program, subsequently statewide law, requiring mediation and parenting plans during a divorce when there are children involved. I didn't correct him, just let him pontificate to see how far he'd go in patting himself on the back. It was significant. You see, I was in Nashville when that legislation was being fought tooth and nail by the bar, and was in that State Senator's office when he called Judge Marie Williams back at home to enlist her aid in recruiting the rest of our Hamilton County judges into the pilot program. I think it was me who asked David Fowler to get Hamilton County enrolled into the pilot program. Actually, I know it was. Because of their total involvement, and the records kept by First Things First, the program was implemented statewide based upon Hamilton County's process and experience. I was also there when, after spending an entire night with Heathern Extraordinaire, one Mr. Scott Roy of Knoxville, re-wording a bill that would allow recourse for those divorced parents who don't abide by their parenting time orders... and it was my hands into which Ms. Beth, of the Chiles Clan, shoved that bill when it needed to be fine tuned after a legislative committee meeting saying "Here, you do it. This is your bill anyway." It's like one of my very dear ScheissterBuds is fond of saying "You know, it's just too [F-bomb] bad 96% of us make the majority look bad."
But we have judges judging judges because only a judge can judge a judge for violating his rules of judicial conduct and etiquette (that's French, tells us which fork to use and when we're supposed to stick out a pinky finger), their judicial canons.
And we have one Hamilton County judge who would presume to override the will of the people and another who envisions himself a political power broker? Au contraire mes amis...
If we look toward Washington, D.C., we see a Senate that hasn't seen fit to even bring forward a budget for debate in, as of 29 June 2012, 1,158 days. Is there any wonder why so many of those up there have filed bankruptcy at least once, some have been indicted and even found guilty of crimes, and generally couldn't find gainful employment out here in the real world, the world of profits and losses and returns on investment? With so many of those people elected who've never had to truly sweat while earning their dinner is it any wonder we have a President whose wife honestly believes we aren't capable of deciding what's best to eat for dinner, a President who believes he's better than someone who, for example, might operate a backhoe for a living, or Senators who honestly believe they can dictate to us from afar how to teach our children?
In one of the trade rags I receive, actually on-line these days, we must watch out for killing too many trees don't you know, but it's also cheaper to send it that way, there's a note that the Department of Energy is looking at mandating lower "idling power" levels for our microwave ovens... that's, like, when that puppy is plugged in the wall but we aren't using it to nuke a McDoubleCheeseBurger. Are we not capable of making that choice ourselves based upon the potential savings to our wallets?
The Department of Transportation thinks it's a good idea to have GPS tracking devices in every truck on the road so they can monitor how long each driver is on duty, how many miles he's traveling, and how long and where he stops to rest. When he spoke at at the Nightside Pachyderm Club recently, Scottie Mayfield commented that Mayfield Dairy has been using those devices for some time because it's good business. What he neglected to mention is that when such devices become required by law the price goes up exponentially. And for that judge who honestly believes our kids don't need all that algebra and geometry and trigonometry stuff, that means it goes up really, really fast in a really, really short period of time.
He was also quick to change the subject when I commented that it isn't only cream that floats to the top...
Tennessee State Rep. Richard Floyd, R-27, would use the power of law to prevent the owner of a legitimate business from being able to smoke in his own office, using the Health Department, who whines they can't inspect for food service employee health certificates as required by law because they don't have enough funding to do so, for enforcement. Commissioner Skillern will veto the project known as Rails-To-Trails because he doesn't like the idea, even though there would be no cost to the county. The Hamilton County Commission will approve a public/private partnership (that's, like, when the public absorbs all the risk while those rich developer dudes, like, keep all the profits)... and Commissioner Joe (formerly Scrappy) Graham will even go along with it because that's his district. The Commish, that dude what's so smart he's got a patent (I've always told them to pay me, leave my name off the patents), is willing to spend that allowance he gets from the county on frufru art when many of his constituents are scrambling just to stay afloat with their own bills, and some are getting further and further behind. iPads for 1st graders? Aren't those LCD displays, like, made out of glass?
One day maybe I'll investigate that patent. Seems I built the controls of a similar machine years ago, about the same time, for a boy who later complained that someone down in South Carolina was infringing on his patent. I had my money, so being a hero wasn't important.
And Red Bankians... how's your County Commissioner doing for you? You know, that guy who tried to snipe at me in a public forum by commenting "Roy, when you're around I keep my hand on my wallet." as he was running around behind his wife. That's real courage. But then, it doesn't take a lot of courage to spend 150 grand of his constituents' money on "that mountain, yonder" and another 15 grand for a non-profit group that isn't even in his district. How's that dude working for ya?
But one must also ask of those cats who're suing the county over beginning meetings with a prayer, "Dudes, like, when did you register to vote and how many elections have you voted in since? Why hasn't it offended you before now? You're guaranteed no right in either of our Constitutions not to be offended."
And our Congress... we'll elect a carpetbagging collections lawyer to represent a congressional district here in Tennessee. An ambulance chasing attorney at least has to work while he's chasing the meat wagon. A collections lawyer just sits in his office waiting for the phone to ring, then he goes into bully mode... on the phone and by mail, mostly. And he claims to be a small businessman? Anyone ever dealt with a collections lawyer? A collections attorney who's honed his "negotiation skills?" Boo-ha. One who's so impressed with himself that it doesn't take but a couple of minutes for him to let someone know it takes between 3 and 3.5 grand to get him dressed in the morning? One who, as a self-proclaimed Republican, will throw a fundraising event at his own home for a Democrat candidate when there's a Republican running in the same election? He may not have done anything really wrong during his tenure in Washington, but what leadership has he shown? "Yes, sir, Mr. Speaker Sir, how much, what color, and where do you want it, sir" just isn't exhibitive of leadership qualities, at least not the leadership qualities I'm used to seeing. But Mr. Speaker Sir needs to show us something besides his bumper sticker slogans and skills of negotiating with himself. Yeah, let's not spike the football... that's real awe inspiring, isn't it.
Congress ended the Viet Nam War by simply de-funding it. What are these duds doing? They just keep voting to allow those continuing resolutions...
But the establishment Republicans will also try to run a young whipper who isn't as old as my Mork suspenders much less my American made leather belt, nor has he ever accomplished anything on his own. Why. Because they can control him easier than they can someone who's actually proven his abilities more than just bullying someone who's about to lose everything they've worked to earn... someone who's actually had to not only prove himself in order to earn a leadership position with a major corporation, but to keep it for a couple of decades. And how did he do that? Perhaps by growing the business and operating it efficiently?
We elect men and women to govern, hoping they'll do what's best for us and our society. What do we get?
Our children, our grandchildren and great grandchildren, deserve more, oh so much more, than what we could lay at their feet right now, today. But in order to leave them more, we must participate.
Goodnight, Ms. Suzzi. I hope the last 13 or so made up for that horrible first year of yours.
It is the evening of the day...
Royce E. Burrage Jr.