Here's Johnny - Good, bad and ugly
I’ll begin with the good: the Oct. 13 candidates’ forum for the folks running for Midway City Council. Four public servants (council members Bruce Southworth, Libby War-field, Sara Hicks and Steven Craig) and two men who’d like to join them (Steve Simoff and John McDaniel) took part in the 90-minute forum at Midway University. The event was sponsored by the Woodford County Chamber of Commerce and Midway Woman’s Club, and students from Woodford County High School’s Community Activism class were there to carry audience questions to the moderator. Chamber Executive Director Don Vizi asked the candidates to play nice, and they did. Most all the questions were pertinent and most every answer was to the point. (I’m not suggesting that criticizing a politician’s record is wrong – it’s possible and sometimes desirable to do so, accurately and decently.) Neither Simoff nor McDaniel had any criticism for the four incumbents, and none of the four running for reelection suggested the newbies wouldn’t do a good job if they finished in the top six. Truth is, Simoff and McDaniel aren’t really newbies. They’re involved in the community and attend most city council meetings. All this for a job that pays $25 per meeting. These words don’t constitute an endorsement of any of the folks who took the stage that evening, but rather, a tip of the fedora to everyone there that night, including two dozen or so citizens in attendance. I suppose it's naïve to wonder aloud if there’s not an inverse correlation between the pay and power of an elective office and the behavior of the people seeking it. Call me naïve, then; I’ve been called worse. Still: can you imagine how much better off we’d be if the folks running for state and federal office behaved themselves like their counterparts in Midway last week? I can. As a better-known John wrote, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” And now to the bad and the ugly … I woke up at 3 a.m. Tuesday and realized I had it all wrong. You see, as I grew older and presumably wiser, I had begun to suspect that not all the problems in my life were the fault of someone else – bosses or loves or bad drivers or folks who don’t return their shopping carts. I began to believe that maybe, just maybe, I had a little something to do with them. Maybe a lot. For a while there, I felt this knowledge gave me the power to correct my errant ways and be a happier, better person. Then, at 3 a.m., I awoke with a start and even before the first cup of coffee, I realized that I was all wrong. I realized that everything was rigged against me. Rigged, I tell you. For this newer newfound wisdom, I thank one of our wealthy presidential candidates. In recent speech after speech, the candidate has explained to his adoring audience that none of the many claims of sexual assault against the candidate were true; that the candidate’s taped words on that subject weren’t true; that the media (which, I suppose, includes me) wasn’t telling the truth and in fact was conspiring with the candidate’s opponent to rig the election. The candidate offered no proof for those claims, but at 3 a.m., after another night of too little sleep, I didn’t need any. I would like to thank the candidate for convincing me that conspiracies abound and, most important, that none of the things I thought I’d done wrong in this life – and there’ve been plenty -- were my doing. In fact, as soon as I turn this column in, I’m marching upstairs to demand an apology from the Silver Fox (aka editor Steve Peterson) for asking me to write the occasional correction to a previously published story. They weren’t my fault, Steve. You see, this whole seeking and telling the truth biz that we call journalism is biased and corrupt and terrible. It’s rigged. Note: Lest there be any misunderstanding … The last half of this week’s column was written by a man with tongue firmly planted in cheek who, in fact, tries to own up to his mistakes, including a real doozy last month. He hopes this column isn’t one of them.