If you are president, state governor, member of Congress or even part of a state legislature, your achievements and good deeds will live on for many years. If you serve on the local level, all too often the stories one remembers are the ones that don’t put you in the most flattering of lights.
Sometimes it is important to remember such stories, just to keep politicians humble.
It may not be fair, but that’s often how life is. No matter how important your work has been, or how much you have been lionized (or engaged in self-lionizing), your good is oft interred with your political bones.
Oh, you may get a plaque on a bench on a trail somewhere, but the chroniclers of the past tend to tell the stories that particularly stand out, or are ultimately more memorable than a list of achievements.
Like the time a Fayetteville mayor called an alderman a “little turd.” Today, not much is known about the alderman or his accomplishments – or even what he stood for – but we know that the mayor once called him a little turd.
The candidate for local office who was caught (along with her husband) trying to steal pallets from a local hardware store one night, and during the resultant police pursuit, she was throwing pallets from the back of their truck in order to slow down the cops.
It didn’t work.
The elected official who lied to a national conference about something he didn’t actually do for another year.
The candidate who said that Fayetteville had “too many goddamn tree huggers.”
The fellow who “borrowed” money from his employer while he sat on the City Council.
The alderman who endangered an important piece of legislation by adding something just to piss off the mayor.
The boorish remarks that elected officials (who think they are being witty) make to citizens that live on, long after the topic at hand has been laid to rest.
The alderman who was caught sunbathing in the nude on the roof of City Hall . . . okay, I made that last one up. But I think you get my point, Haggling Reader.
Just as the advice, “It’s the economy, Stupid,” was hammered home during the Clinton years, the phrase “It’s the oral history, Stupid,” should be be remembered by each and every person running for local office.
Oh, and sometimes the stories are actually written down.
While we are on the subject of plaques. and honoring folks who make a difference to their community
When the hell is the city of Fayetteville going to give Free Camman her bench back?
I was aided considerably today by the CD “Celtic Woman: A New Journey.” And this being the “Deluxe” edition, it has four bonus tracks.
Now on YouTube: Dotty Oliver – Little Rock Free Press Memories
Some years ago it was my great privilege to write for Dotty Oliver, publisher of the Little Rock Free Press – which later became the Arkansas Free Press.
When I contacted her with my first story idea, she said the nicest thing that any publisher or editor has ever said to me:
“I wondered when you were going to come to your senses and write for me.”
And here is my interview with Dotty Oliver.
Quote of the Day
By idolizing those whom we honor, we do a disservice both to them and to ourselves . . . We fail to recognize that we could go and do likewise. – Charles V. Willie