By: Steve Trubilla
The closer one stands to a fire, the clearer the flames become. Too close and you are consumed, the perils are many.
The primary election is now behind us, and like fire, it has consumed much. Materially, money has been spent. The few have run their race and won, others have fallen short. All that stood ethically have earned our respect.
The sentiment of this brings to mind President Theodore Roosevelt’s speech offered in Paris on 23 April 1910 at the Sorbonne, “Citizens in a Republic.”
The following is an excerpt from that rendering; timeless words that capture the truth on all honorable purists.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
It is not the winning of things that most defines someone. In all struggle and contests there are winners and losers. It is the conduct of the struggle that reflects true character.
Those that find victory to elected office through deceit are not winners, they are in fact losers, and in every sense of the word.
Like fire, their deceit ultimately destroys and consumes all it touches. For a time there is smoke, but only for a time.
The ebb and flow exacts its price. Fire is dangerous. Those that challenge it are advised to take caution. It is power, real power. Harnessed, it can light the world. Left to run wild it, will destroy it.
The lesson parallels political power, it too is most dangerous if let to run wild. It has toppled great nations, ours is at risk.
Observing this election, I witnessed overt acts of unchecked power and deliberate effort to subordinate the very foundation of our electoral process; one vote, one person.
Lists were passed out telling people who to vote for, three of them, yellow, blue, and white, that I took note of; two by democrats and one by a republican. All backed by certain candidates, money and elected officials.
One of these officials, a sitting county commissioner, in writing used his office in conjunction with one of these lists to attack citizens, and other sitting elected officials.
Every sitting member of the Franklin County Board of County Commissioners knows this. Many other officials are also aware of it. To my knowledge, none of them have rebuked him.
I even learned prominent lawyers and business men and women were complicit.
Here is a challenge for you, when you see them ask them why?
With my own ears I heard it said, “Just take the list into the voting booth and copy it.” “Yes, it is like cheating, but not really.” I wonder if this is what they also teach their children. Most probably they do.
Then there is the candidate/campaign that purchased website domains and manipulated photographs in an attempt to derail her opponent.
The list of actions and methods employed to distort the integrity of the process is endless. Easily pages of examples exist.
Clearly what was done are open and notorious violations of ethics, and most probably laws. I believe it rises to the level of voter fraud. Yet it stands.
If these things had been done secretly it may be possible to understand them. They were done with arrogance, boldly and in the open.
This is not a grand revelation, most of you know about it. So let me ask the question, why do you let it stand?
The news is not all bad; many have come forward.
Local elected officials now know citizens will no longer accept being told to shut up and sit down when they ask questions at meetings.
They know you will no longer tolerate the endless list of scandals with no one being held accountable.
Momentum is growing. More need to stand and have their/your voices heard.
Know this, you will not stand alone, others will stand with you. Together we are many.
This column, Paper Bullets, is your voice. I am the messenger, not the story.
With the column I have the stage, it is our stage and I want to share it.
Many of you have knowledge and can provide great insight to the challenges we face.
I would like to host writers as guests to Paper Bullets.
The rules of engagement are as follows. No gratuitous, personal attacks. If you have the facts and names then use them. If you are looking to press a personal vendetta, look elsewhere.
Provoke thought and remember all of our officials are not at fault. I offer most are good and honorable people equally as frustrated as you are.
Submissions have to be specifically related to Franklin County.
Word count for articles is 500 to 1,000 words.
And, of course, no profanity, good taste prevails and libel regulations must be met -- and the publisher reserves the right to accept or decline any submissions.
I do not care what your politics are. If politics are more important to you than hard hitting local issues, this is probably not the place for you.
My friends, we have real things to talk about.
Those officials that will not do the heavy lifting need to hear this message, lead, follow, or get out of the way.
The stage is yours. If you would like to be a guest writer in this column e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the editor directly. Next week, look to hear from Jeremy Neal, chairman of Franklin County’s very own Grand Old Party.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” — Edmund Burke