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Wormy Watermelon

I’m going to resist the temptation to make any Wiener jokes.  I happen to think the disgraced congressman from New York is a joke in and of himself. His lewd and lascivious behavior was bad enough. Sending pictures of your body parts to unsuspecting women around the county is certainly conduct unbecoming a member of congress, but lying about it to the press and the public is a step beyond.

Like Bill Clinton, Weiner would have much better off to simply say, “Yep. I did it,” and leave it at that. But, no. He had to dirty up his dreadful acts a bit more with elaborate lies which served only to the further shame of his colleagues, his family, his constituents and his nation.

Congressionals and Presidential types are well known for this kind of sleazy behavior.

Of course there were John Kennedy’s famous dalliances. His brother Ted, according to a Massachusetts acquaintance of mine, was a lush of the first magnitude who was once caught in flagrane dilecto with a waitress in a hotel elevator where he was supposed to be giving a speech. Never mind the fact that he is known for drowning his dates. The man was certainly a poster boy for what a lawmaker should not be.

The list is long enough and includes names like Gary Hart, the Governator, and, alas, my friend Larry Craig. These men, like the rest of us, have fatal flaws. Such is the human condition. We’re all capable of stupid mistakes. The question is can we expect our leaders and lawmakers to rise above their base instincts? I certainly hope so.

We have no shortage locally of flawed lawmakers some of whom are far worse than others. And, as it works out we had an interesting object lesson last week relating to this very question – should we hold our lawmakers to a higher standard?

Aberdeen has a sign ordinance. It basically says that signs of all sorts - from business signs to temporary signs like the crop of campaign placards which have lately been sprouting up around our community - must be set back from the curb by a full 15 feet. We have a second rule which applies specifically to temporary political signs. This rule requires that candidates pay a deposit of $50.00 before they place - or allow any of their campaign signs to be placed by others - upon properties within the city limits. This deposit is fully refundable once the election is over and all the signs have been removed. The rule is simply a small attempt to manage the clutter in and on our streets and is right-headed in my book.

It came to the attention of our local building inspector the other day that only three candidates (Johnson, Chism and Ott) had bothered to pay their $50.00 deposit – the rest of the candidates were in violation of Aberdeen’s law. Now, it’s quite possible that the errant candidates were not aware of the law. I was notified by mail about this statute years ago when I was a candidate in a municipal election. I’m not sure if candidates for county office were afforded that same courtesy but that is completely immaterial. You know what they say…ignorance of the law is no excuse. If you doubt that, let a Sheriff’s deputy stop you for speeding on a back road then plead ignorance of the speed limit.

Building Inspector David Low promptly went out and began the process of removing the illegal signs of wanna-be judges, supervisors, sheriffs and constables. Low, who is a badge-carrying, sworn officer of the law, is empowered to levy a $5.00 per sign fine but, in his judgment, taking a hard line THIS TIME was un-necessary. Most gallant of him.

In due time Sheriff Andy Hood and candidate for Supervisor, Buzzy Cullum beat feet to City Hall, paid their deposit and re-placed their impounded signs. As of this morning, (Monday,) the streets of Aberdeen look clean and uncluttered so I’m guessing the others are not exactly eager to: A) pay their deposit so, B) they can win your vote. Maybe they are just pouting.

More likely they are attempting to go over Low’s head - to cause him to be spanked for having the audacity to do his job. (It should be noted here that on the day following the sign-removal exercise, our Building Inspector went to the County jail to collect his cadre of inmates to help with the day’s labors. Interestingly, for reasons known only to Andy Hood, Mr. Low was not allowed to have access to free inmate labor that day. I will let you decide whether or not the Sheriff was abusing his power and/or simply being a total jackass.)

And so…we move toward another set of elections. We’ll elect County officers this summer then, next spring we’ll elect municipal officers. Finally, in 2012, we will elect congressmen and a President to serve our Nation. Our job is to sort through the basket of candidates and find ones we can respect and admire. We want – or at least we OUGHT to want – lawmakers and law enforcers who actually mean to live within the rules of our society. (Nor should we tolerate men like Barack Obama who befriends anarchists and terrorists like Bill Ayres whose personal history includes the bombing of police stations and the Pentagon..but that’s another story for a different day.)

Our duty as citizens is sacred. We have been entrusted with the most noble experiment known in the history mankind. Democracy requires our constant and careful attention. In a government of the people, by the people and for the people, there cannot be space for men who break big laws or even bend little ones. We need to weed out the naked-picture-senders and the sign-ordinance-ignorers because little corruptions have a nasty way of poisoning everything and everybody they touch.

 Once, when I was a little girl, my mother returned from a morning’s fishing with a few night crawlers left in her bait box. Because she intended to fish again that evening, she popped the bait box into the refrigerator to keep her worms fresh for the day. As luck would have it, circumstances interrupted her evening plans and her bait box was thoroughly forgotten about.

Several days later Mother fetched a watermelon which had been chilling in the fridge, intending to serve herself a slice. Somehow, she was shocked and amazed to find her melon being consumed by her very happy fishing worms.

Need I say more? 

Viki Eggers Mason

June 20, 2011

 

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