Readers of the Tribune, our local newspaper, have by now grown accustomed to the diversionary banter of Floyd County Republican Party chairman David Matthews, who has taken on the seemingly full-time task of vacuum interpretation and nuance creation for his enduringly sphinx-like mayoral candidate, “Silent Randy” Hubbard.
However, last week it was the turn of Rove’s – oops, make that Matthews’s – fellow party operative Jennifer Mayfield to defend an ever somnolent Hubbard’s honor by way of a stinging attack on the NAPD’s Todd Bailey, himself an outspoken advocate of Democratic candidate Doug England. Mayfield since has been answered by a friend of Bailey’s, and the muddy scrum of accusations and counter-accusations will continue to grow unabated until the final whistle blows on Election Day, when, thanks to state law, we’ll be cruelly denied the gentle consolations of alcohol until 6:00 p.m.
It just isn’t fair.
None of it.
Especially the alcohol part.
(Rereading those first paragraphs, I now tremble with fear while awaiting the rhetorical lash of that pastureland brown shirt dude that Matthews handed me over to last time, but maybe he’s distracted by penning mash notes to his poster child Mike Sodrel. Should I reword what I wrote and spare him the pleasure?)
(Nah; it’s too much fun as it is. Now, back to our regularly scheduled essay.)
Surely Mayfield exaggerates more than even the vituperous non-professor Erika in portraying Officer Bailey as a veritable leech supping at the collapsed veins of taxpayers, although it is probable that in a hotly contested election, and given the stunning absence of ideas that continues to characterize Matthews’s and Mayfield’s perpetually sandbagging local Republican encampment, that dully repetitious saturation sliming is the only available recourse to the GOP’s probable fate of disappearing from the electoral radar screen entirely.
Matthews was in print yet again last Thursday afternoon, this time flashing photos of the candidates in order to rebut Bailey’s admittedly bizarre previous assertion that England is the better dressed of the two candidates, although photos from Wednesday night’s “forum” depict both men as suitably suited and potentially administrative. In the end, while amusing, certainly the GQ factor isn’t relevant to the issues at hand … although in honesty, I’d pay good money to see any candidate for office wear a toga while campaigning.
As for the opportunity to hear England and Hubbard respond to questions (just not to each other) at the forum, the author was otherwise engaged and has yet to view the film, but it is difficult to imagine that anything said by either candidate would be sufficient to change minds even if the general public cared, and alas, little interest in the forthcoming election has been generated up until now, with voter turnout likely to be depressingly small unless a referendum question is inserted along the lines of, “Are you in favor of paying no taxes whatsoever but receiving the same or greater levels of service from the government you intend to emaciate?”
That’d bring ‘em out in droves, wouldn’t it?
There’s no time better than the present to offer my personal endorsement in the mayoral contest, because as in the Federer/Woods/Henry razor advertisement, the present is all that matters to me. In considering the England-Hubbard mayoral match-up, I find it useful to strip away the verbiage and superfluous embellishments and concentrate instead on one fundamental factor.
Active vs. passive intent.
From the outset, Hubbard has promised to be deliberate, cautious and, frankly, conservative if elected to office. This is hardly surprising, and for those who believe that incremental and largely passive caretaking is the proper approach to governance, and especially for those who harbor congenital antipathy toward change, the ex-sheriff is the only real choice: "Don't do something - just stand there."
Appropriately, on the other side of the aisle, England’s campaign slogan might be fairly paraphrased as, “Don’t just stand there – do something.”
Culled to its essence, his platform is one of unapologetic activism. For those who believe that problems can be recognized and diagnosed, and solutions undertaken, and especially for those who understand that there is no constant in life except change, the ex-mayor is the only real choice for the job.
One man will be chosen. Whether the winner is Hubbard or England, neither man will please all of his supporters all of the time. Either of them will make mistakes, and in the end, the political wheel will not be reinvented for the sake of tiny New Albany.
What is the real difference to me?
Easy. It can be clearly seen that a transitional situation in New Albany merits an activist stance on the part of local government. This blog has provided three years’ worth of testimony on behalf of such a stance, and of the two candidates for mayor, only Doug England has shown himself willing and capable of articulating an activist stance and possessing the ability to formulate a platform that reflects reality on the ground and offers more than a few thoughtful, workable potential solutions.
Yes, England served previously as mayor.
Yes, he carries baggage from his previous service.
But the present isn’t the past.
As the estimable performer Steve Miller once observed, "Time keeps on slipping into the future," and truer words have seldom been sung. Our next municipal election isn’t about “last time,” or “before,” or “back then.” It’s quite clearly about now. The city is at a particularly important juncture, with certain societal and economic factors illuminated and others not, and with specific difficulties to be faced, but also numerous opportunities there to be seized. Of course, the past is instructive, and when it comes to making sense of what happened before, history books are filled with examples of people whose natural abilities were right for the circumstances of a particular time.
I believe England to be just such a man. What he is best at doing is what we need now.
Of course, like all the rest of us, England is a flawed human being. Fortunately, we’re not being called upon to elect a saint, but to choose a mayor.
Surveying New Albany as it is now, and regarding Doug England as who he is now, there is little doubt in my mind that he possesses the superior skill sets for the job at hand, but surreally, Hubbard’s hastily concocted campaign slogan would have us believe that caretaking and passivity are “right” for New Albany in the current transitional time, and that Hubbard is the “right” man to do very little when much needs to be done.
Perhaps a vow of do-nothingness is a decent gambit in the absence of a platform, but it doesn’t change the fundamental equation, which begins with a plainly evident admission on the part of a vast majority of observers that in New Albany, “something” needs to be done.
England promises to try and do something, and that’s more than enough for me. He’ll receive my vote on November 6.
I encourage readers to follow suit ... not by trusting what this or any other blog tells you, but by choosing your candidate according to your own conscience, and most importantly, by VOTING.