Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?
These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.
Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...
...seems to be working so far
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Time to Stock Up on Aluminum Foil
Less blood this way.
When a person runs for office, or accepts an appointment to an office a couple things happen. First of all they are chosen to serve the public. They can come in with experience, and offer their opinions, but in the end, they are there to act as a representative of the public, and if their line of thought does not match that of the majority of the public then it is a not a good thing. We usually discover this after the fact. We have few options at this point. We don't have to elect them the next time, or with an appointed individual we can try to get them on the same page as their constituents, instead of continuing their "It's all about me" attitude.
This is normal. Every town, city, and state has these issues. We elect someone, and only afterwards do we realize we made a big mistake. We live with it until we can change it.
But, what about the abnormal? What if a public official becomes an "anti-official" in their supposed "off" time. Well, for one thing if one is a public official, they no longer have "off time" Being a public official, elected, or appointed is full time. Sorry, but that's just the way it is. Yes, they may carry on business during normal business hours, or in the evening at meetings, but in the eyes of their constituents they are Mr / Ms. Official whether they are seen at 5:00 PM, or run into them at XtraMart at 2:00 AM. It is not a job where they can "punch out" for the day. They are official 24 hours a day. If they don't like that, they don't have to run or accept the appointment.
So, getting back to the "anti-official". What is an "anti-official"? It is anyone that runs contrary to the behaviors, and ethics one expects from an official, and they do it mostly on what they call their "own time". And, they defend their behavior as some first amendment right they are pursuing. They will provoke an argument if asked to fly right, they will attack in the name of truth and integrity, and they will not let go of anything -- ever. They become the exact opposite of what one would expect a person in their position to be. Sometimes they will slam a person in writing, and on the very same page offer the same person congratulations. It's all very strange, and fragmented. They become an embarrassment to themselves, the place they represent, and to their friends
It is very "Sybil" like, and it is disturbing. One sure sign they have slipped a cog, is they will begin to show signs of paranoia, and proclaim that everyone around them is incompetent, and only they can perform the jobs at hand. They may even want everyone fired. In fact, they may even go public with their rants, and demands of firing everyone around them. The next thing you know they're wearing aluminum foil hats to prevent the voices from bothering them.
Now, don't misunderstand me. If the Town Fence Viewer wants to spend time practicing falconry in a wildlife preserve, well all we can do is tell him to stop, ,and to take up crossword puzzles instead. He is doing something idiotic that in no way reflects his position as Fence Viewer. But, if a politician, or a board member is spewing political opinions and slamming people in the media (yes, the internet is considered a form of media) then they have crossed the line. It won't be long before one of the "targets" complains to the Big Boss, and maybe even threaten to sue the town. After all, the politician is making political comments, so why would someone not assume they are speaking on behalf of their position? All it takes is on phrase, "You'll be hearing from my lawyer." to make those in command take notice.
So, why am I sharing this with you? Don't know. Just had these thoughts, and I am grateful we don't have anything like that going on here in Sturbridge. I mean, can you imagine? Imagine an official having two distinct sides to them? Or, more? It would almost be like the president of the Sierra Club swapping baby seal recipes on their Facebook site (shudder), or going to an Audubon bird count with binoculars and a twelve gauge.
Well, I'm glad I got that off my chest. Sometimes it's good to vent these things out in the open. It's like putting a clove of garlic over the door to keep the vampires away. I just hope my words make someone think twice before becoming an "anti-official" here.
But, just in case, I'm sleeping with my crucifix from here on in.
...and my aluminum foil hat.