Local, small town “governance” can sometimes be plagued by pettiness and a hunger for power that far outdistances the scope of any elective or appointed position.
Now, though, the level of spite, meanness and idiocy in some local governments is reaching new heights. If it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny.
In Carpentersville, the town government has come to a halt because one trustee has been convicted of walloping his wife with a baseball bat. He hit her in the legs and prodded her in the groin, according to recent trial testimony.
The mayor, in his bid to toss the trustee off the village board, further alleges the trustee doesn’t even live in Carpentersville.
Oh, and did I mention that, according to published reports, the trustee with the baseball bat hit his wife shortly after he learned she had sex with the 30-year-old son of another Carpentersville council member?
Commenting on the sordid story has become quite a pastime on Internet blogs, has poisoned village board proceedings and has hampered the community from addressing more pressing problems such as how to deal with a surge in illegal immigrants.
This situation is no doubt fed by suburban residents who have real jobs by day, but by night they follow the lead of full-time rabble-rousers such as our governor, members of the General Assembly and those running for president.
Maybe there needs to be more anti-psychotic medication dumped into the water supply so that Carpentersville can once again live up to its slogan: “Building a better tomorrow, today.”
And then there is Hinsdale, where the silent majority of residents are embarrassed and increasingly unamused by their village “leaders.”
For several years there has been incessant bickering between elected officials and some blue-blooded preservationists who appear to see empty-nester housing as Cabrini-Green incarnate and any retail re-development as tantamount to bringing the failed State Street Mall to their suburb.
As with the war in Carpentersville, Hinsdale’s battlefield is largely on the Internet where anonymous personal slurs are as easy to toss as popcorn kernels in a dark theater.
Maybe these mud-slingers are harboring anger left after losing their high school student council elections. Or possibly they are just venting mid-life crises by taking it out on entire communities. I wish they would simply buy a Corvette convertible or someone would give them a Botox gift card.
The Carpentersville village board meets tomorrow night. The Hinsdale village board convenes, suitably, on April Fool’s day.
Shortly after 7:30 on those evenings, the trustees will take attendance. Then, out of habit, each will stand and face the American Flag. One or two might even put their right hand over their heart as they recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
They obviously need a reminder as to exactly what they are pledging. Perhaps someone ought to read the below version of the Pledge. Old-time comic Red Skelton once delivered something like it on his TV show but I’ve taken the liberty of updating it.
“I Pledge Allegiance…”
“I” means me, an individual and committee of one; “pledge” is a solemn devotion to serve others without selfishness or self-pity; “allegiance” is a promise to be faithful to those who have handed over their trust.
“To the Flag…”
This red, white and blue cloth stands as a symbol of the freedom that allows you to represent us. It has stood for 236 years and will be here long after you are gone. Leave it as you found it.
We all come together for the common good of the…
Many pieces. One pie. Many people. One purpose.
“And to the republic for which it stands…”
We live in a republic. That means power is given from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.
“one nation, under God,”
Don’t forget who has the ultimate power to recall you.
You can try to divide…but we will conquer.
This would be the right we have to live as we see fit, without the threat or fear of retaliation.
“And justice for all.”
Justice means you should play fair and do the right thing.
If you ever forget what that means, remember these two words: Eliot Spitzer.