Me, me... me, me, me, me, me, me, me-eeee...
Well, The Sparkster is giving me the old "you really need to quit that" look, so maybe I better give up on the dream of becoming an opera soloist.
This May primary has presented some surprises, that's for sure. I spoke with Mrs. Turner over in Hamilton County District 7 recently. She said her #1 opponent, Mr. Smartt, was quick to cowboy up, congratulate her, and offer his support for the county general election in August. Commendable... quite commendable, actually. On the other hand, the third opponent in that race, the guy who claimed to be a Republican even though his history speaks otherwise, is doing what?
Supporting the prevailing Democrat.
And where is the Republican Party on this issue? Are they sending his Pachyderm Club and any other party affiliated club, group, or organization dues and memberships back to him? Are they requesting campaign donations solicited through party resources be returned? How about the expense of his party resource use, party e-mail blasts to name but one, are they sending a bill for those? The universal consciousness will surely exact its retribution for his hypocrisy, but where's the Republican Party with respect to Mr. Perkins, who someone recently referred to as Mr. Karma Chameleon?
It's all about him, isn't it. Me, me... me, me...
Four years ago this past March I went to a meet-n-greet at the Red Bank Community Center. The reason? Several of Mr. Skillern's myrmidons had decided that missing signs and other forms of harassment weren't enough for his opponent. They went through all of Mrs. Oakley's campaign documents and called many of those whose names were found therein, even her nominating petition. Especially interesting was many of those who signed her nominating petition didn't really support her but were willing to sign the petition so she could run, as is her right... and told her so. So here's Mr. Skillern's posse making threats of interfering with possible political aspirations of his own supporters, and/or their family members, and I went over to ask him to call off the dogs. His response? Oh, he repeated the obligatory denial of culpability, stated he had, and has, no control over what others do, even his supporters, and was reminded that a leader, a true leader, would first never allow his supporters to succumb to their more base desires and if they did, he would put the quietus on it immediately. He thought that was funny, but perhaps there's a reason the voters of his district have finally had enough, causing him to say "I guess my kind of politics is over."
There are no secrets being related here. I asked to have a private, man to man discussion, but Mr. Skillern insisted we have our discussion in the middle of the room with everyone around. One might suppose for everyone to see him give a verbal lashing. But in such situations it's a matter of perspective who's the lash-er and who's the lash-ee, isn't it.
As I turned to leave, he couldn't resist attempting a parting shot "And let me tell you something else. Rhonda Thurman will be my replacement on the commission. You have a problem with that?" Ah, so therein lay the reason she'd been so quiet for the previous year or so. It was actually surprising to see Mr. Skillern finish the last term and run again instead of doing as some others the past few years, step down in the middle of a term and use his influence to appoint his chosen successor.
It's all about me... me, me... me, me... isn't it, and continuing the illusion of who's the political powerhouse.
It's disappointing to see people we've appreciated, even admired, go down the road of hubris, isn't it. Even more disappointing is to watch someone who's accomplished so much, coming from rather common beginnings, as Mrs. Thurman. I'd hoped she wouldn't venture down this road, but reading her recent explanation of why she's running a write-in campaign for Hamilton County Commission, comparing it with past writings, it's pretty obvious Mrs. Thurman's operating on pure emotion right now. The entire piece is all about her... me, me, me, me... with nary a word about her leadership creds being any better than those of Mr. Fairbanks. Unfortunately, her anger is directed toward everyone but the person most responsible for upsetting her plans who, like Mr. Casavant before him, thereby crushing further political aspirations of Mr. Baker, ran one too many times... Mr. Skillern.
And of all times, she had to put it out on Memorial Day.
As an oft proclaimed hard core Republican, is that why so much effort was put into blaming Mr. Skillern's loss on Democrats? Even though School Board seats are non-partisan, Mrs. Thurman sits on the HCGOP County Executive Committee. Where are the rest of the Republican elites on this issue? Is their stance the District 1 seat should have gone to Mrs. Thurman instead of the guy who stood up, participated in the primary process, and prevailed against an incumbent of his own party? Will she be allowed to run as a Republican? If so, why even expend the effort and expense of a primary race?
I, I, my, my, me, me... me, me... me, me...
The rest of us, the great unwashed, Joe and Jane Schmuckatelli, are told whether our preferred candidate wins or loses we should support the voters' choice, the candidate who wins a majority. When does the party cowboy, or cowgirl, up and take elected officials, or those who've hoodoo'd their way into party primary races, to task for not doing as the rest of us are told? We're mere working schlubs. Perhaps that's the difference.
It's been said that politics is theater for ugly people with no talent. Perhaps that's where so many politicians learn, mistakenly, that leadership is based upon Machiavellian philosophy... including whips, chains, stilettos, toying with employment, or that of loved ones, to keep the commoners in line. Fear and intimidation are the tools of choice rather than true leadership, isn't it.
True leaders inspire. They don't intimidate, bully, or threaten those they lead. They don't need to. 2,500 years ago philosopher and military tactician extraordinaire Sun Tzu wrote "The consummate leader cultivates the moral law, and strictly adheres to method and discipline." This includes consistency, following the rules of order, treating everyone equally, without showing favoritism.
That's one of the things that makes these United States of America, the greatest nation to ever grace the face of Planet Terra, so wonderful isn't it... the right to choose our leaders. We can choose the manipulative, it's all about me, discipline with an ugly stick type of narcissistic bully or we can choose those who inspire us, instill a sense of better days ahead, for us and our heirs, who clear the runway then get out of the way so we can all do what we do best, just like Sam Cooke.
Everybody loves to Cha Cha Cha... Cha Cha Cha... Cha Cha Cha...
Royce Burrage, Jr.
* * *
Why are people so upset that someone is running as a write-in? It is on every ballot I have seen since I became a citizen. I write-in names all the time because I don't like either candidate. I read one letter from Ms. Thurman to explain her reasons for running and the other letters about her have been very mean. Maybe Mr. Fairbanks has put these people up to writing these letters.
I googled write-in campaigns and they look to be difficult. No one would go through that just to do what someone else wanted them to do. What is her advantage in doing Mr. Skillern's bidding? I thought they were friends. Don't you ask advice and counsel from your friends? Why would she have run against Mr. Skillern in the primary when they are friends? Maybe Burrage and Mr. Fairbanks would do that, but an honest person like Rhonda Thurman would not. Also, why would Mr. Skillern need to be replaced when he is so conservative? If you ask me, it was Randy Fairbanks that had no business to run against Mr. Skillern in the first place. Someone should have gotten him not to run.
They refer to Mr. Skillern all the time in a negative way whose only crime, as far as I can tell, seems to be that he is too conservative. He lost the race, but mainly because he is getting to the age that he can't campaign like he used to.
It is obvious as I am new to politics, that the people in charge wanted Mr. Skillern replaced and worked against him to make that happen. Now, those same people are disappointed that Mr. Fairbanks will have to run against someone in the main election. They are afraid of Ms. Thurman and should be.
If the District 1 wants Randy Fairbanks, they can vote for him. The problem is that they want Rhonda Thurman. She will win.