Monday, August 15, 2011

And so it begins

Kevin Beckner is one of two Democrats currently serving on the board of commissioners for Hillsborough County. His seat will be up for election in November 2012. The St. Petersburg Times is reporting that a new political attack blog has been launched and that Beckner is the first target.
The headline of the very first blog post, dated August 5th, is "Kevin Beckner’s Net Worth Surges While Serving on County Commission". It goes on to state that property owned by Beckner has increased significantly in value since he was elected to the commission in 2009 and implies that something nefarious is afoot due in large part to the unavailability of public records. Beckner, who is gay, shares his home with his partner Hillsborough County Sheriff deputy Sgt. Gil Sainz. State law allows law enforcement officers to shield their home addresses as a safety measure.
As reported by the Times, Beckner "as a commissioner...has been vocal, generally siding with board majorities that have pressed for spending cuts". The Times goes on to say "He has advocated gay rights issues, such as domestic partner benefits. But his signature effort to date has been a campaign to get first-time juvenile offenders into a diversion program that spares them a criminal record. He also has led other police-friendly initiatives, such as an approved crackdown on pill mills and a proposal to go after people who commit insurance fraud by staging stage car crashes." Not exactly the kind of standard 'radical liberal' stuff that usually causes conservatives to froth at the mouth. In fact, the juvenile offenders program mentioned above is something strongly backed by Beckner's colleague on the board, Mark Sharpe, a conservative Republican.

Okay, there IS the whole gay thing.
Now, in the interest of transparency, I did vote for Beckner and as it stands right now, I expect to do so again. But before anybody gets the wrong idea, this is in no way to suggest that Kevin Beckner should run unopposed in the next election. It's not even necessarily an endorsement.
So what's my point? Simply that we, and I mean all of us, can't afford to be appointing or retaining our public servants on anything other than what they bring to the job. Not anymore. Things are just too bad to screw around. As far as Beckner is concerned, if somebody else can do a better job, my ears are open. Let's hear it. I'm sure Mr. Beckner himself would say that hs isn't perfect. At least I hope so. If there's somebody out there who thinks they can do a better job, let them speak up. As far as I'm concerned, that's the approach we all need to take for every single election.
At the same time this is going on, many of my left-leaning friends are deconstructing the just-completed Iowa Straw Poll with insights about how Michelle Bachmann is funny looking. The elections are 15 months away and I feel like I'm at a ballgame, sitting right between the two most obnoxious fans in the park while all I want is for somebody to explain why I can't afford to buy a hot dog. And I know it's only going to get worse.

Pictured: aggregative democracy.
I know, I know. "That's politics". There's no sense in whining about it because if we really wanted more than that from our leaders and the process itself, we'd demand it. And if we really demanded it, we'd get it. I just hate to think that when people look back at the moment when America jumped the shark (a moment that many believe has already happened), it was when my generation was on duty and we let it happen in large part because we abdicated our responsibility and allowed our most important issues to not only be influenced by, but decided on the most superficial and ultimately meaningless circumstances.
That, and cripes, it's going to be a loooong 15 months.


JamesB said...

I too wonder sometimes if we've already jumped the shark. Every era has had its pluses and minuses. We all tend to get nostalgic about the past, even if we weren't there for it. For example, even beneath the idyllic, Leave It to Beaver 1950s there was a huge racial wound festering and about to blow open. But things really don't seem to be heading in the right direction these days. The country is so fractured along ideological lines that it's easier to envision it breaking apart than pulling itself back together. Ironically, it seems to be the people who stand up and shout about how patriotic they are that are the most divisive. If you have to tell me how patriotic you are, you're less patriotic than I am. No one stays on top forever. See ancient Greece, Rome, England, etc., for examples of empires who have seen their day run its course. I just hate to think that our actions are actually speeding up our own timetable. But it seems at times as if they are.

Why, it's Clark! said...

Until the idelogues get away from the mindset that a win is only a win if your opponent not only loses but is crushed and humiliated, nothing's going to get done.

Ann said...

Your analogy of the obnoxious fans at the baseball game is perfect! Unfortunately, the message will likely be lost on the extremists you are referring to as they will misinterpret the statement as a dig only at the "other side"