Plight of the modern-day politician

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Politics is a nasty game of abdication. It’s most prevalent at the national level where Political Parties and career hired hands representatives vie for prime TV real estate to peddle lies to a deprived American audience hungry for any sloppy sustenance.

It’s been almost 43 years since Political Decency died with Nixon’s presidency when he was chased out of the White House by a bipartisan band of American heroes. Since, however, politics has become a game of winning. Serving the people has taken a back seat to who had the biggest inauguration and overt acts of voter suppression disguised as an investigation into baseless claims of rampant voter fraud.

There is no bar for decency in left in White House. President Obama packed that away when he left. The Trump Train and its elitist henchmen (disguised as the most Patriotic Americans) smashed the bar all to hell. The floodgates of vile rhetoric are gushing forth from the nether regions of the American id, a dark place where we’ve stored our racism, bigotry and KKK-like tendencies for the last 50 years. Those hoods are not as dusty as we thought they’d be.

What’s most detestable is not the dangerous and distracting dog and pony show in D.C. It’s the fact such displays of political absurdity are creeping into local politics like an uncapped oil well in the Gulf—thick, black and poisonous. It seeps in the smallest crack susceptible to corruption. It turns good politicians bad and makes bad politicians downright evil.

The 2016 Presidential Election has done something else, other than putting a racist demagogue in the White House. It has put in motion a political awakening that could save the Great American Experiment. The pulse of American politics is hard to avoid today, with social media, news and Cable News Networks spinning left, right and sideways the happenings in D.C. and elsewhere across the country.

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Trump has also given people a renewed sense of duty to serve in office. Party meetings are packed with volunteers eager to pin the latest candidate to their shirt collar and hand out flyers at the fair. With more people interested in politics, the current political system comes under heightened and often unwanted scrutiny.

Which brings us to Adrian City Mayor Jim Berryman and his clique of cronies. I’d always heard rumors of backroom dealings wafting from Adrian, but it seems in recent months the smell has gone from a mere annoyance to an environmental disaster. From the cherry picking of public speakers during the medical marijuana debate to the bungled Jean Christopher buildings deal, things have just not been going well. More public scrutiny is the last thing the mayor wants.

But what the mayor wants and what the mayor gets are two completely different things, and it appears his feelings have been hurt. So much so, he’s sought and was granted a personal protection order from the local judge. Instead of, say, doing the right thing by those who elected him, Berryman decided best to cower behind the legs of the local justice system like a scared toddler. If he had a tail it’d be between his legs.

What’s most egregious and appalling is how easy Berryman could get his PPO from Lenawee County Circuit Judge Margaret M.S. Noe. He “felt threatened by the looks and gesturing of Mackey as well as his behavior prior to the commission meeting.” Looks and gestures are enough to infringe upon a citizen’s First Amendment rights without due process? While this is a slap in the face to those who really need PPOs to protect themselves from physical harm, it also sets a very dangerous precedent, especially in a post-Trump inauguration where politicians and political rhetoric isn’t keen on criticism.

Any politician that silences a citizen’s First Amendment right should be questioned and scrutinized. Shane Mackey is running for the Adrian City Commission. What happens if he wins? Would the PPO be discontinued or would Mackey be barred from serving the very people that elected him to office? That is a question we won’t have to answer if Berryman is no longer the cowardly mayor he has been.


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