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As Long as We Remember...

October 7, 2010

It’s Up To YOU…

Joan Marie Aquilino

To slate or not to slate, that is the question – with apologies to William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.


Commissioner Blaine Young put together a group he supports and – along with his own campaigning – he has lent his support and clout to the other Board of County Commissioner candidates he believes are of like mind, or at least similar in views. Like it or not, it is what it is.


Next comes the B team (he doesn't like the term slate) of Commissioner Kai Hagen. The almost comical event here is that Mr. Hagen is doing exactly what Mr. Young is doing, but he refuses to admit it, using every excuse on the books as to why what is, isn’t. Instead he goes into his list of 1001 excuses that do nothing but confirms with every word that he has put together a slate.


Honestly, I have no clue why he doth protest so much; but after four years we should all be used to it by now. Commissioner Hagen is an idea man and that is fine except ideas eventually need some follow through. It is not the job of four other commissioners, the county staff, or even the public, to do the grunt work for his ideas. This has been his “method of operation” for every effort he’s made from his activist roles to his elected position. If you can’t produce, it’s time to go.


Party or Principle? Which comes first?


For me, there is no question, its principle because without principles, party doesn’t matter.


Now more than at any other time in my life I'm personally struggling in finding my place between the narrow lines of principles over party. I'm told that since the primaries are over it's now all about unity and closing ranks. I'm trying to figure out why what was wrong before the primaries is now all of a sudden acceptable and okay. That just doesn't work for me; it's either wrong or it’s not. Not wrong one week and okay the next. 


Wouldn't it be nice if the parties were what they were and all candidates subscribed to all the principles of the party? It certainly would make it much easier; but that isn't the way it works and those lines are getting blurred more and more because of candidates who are more interested in the win over the service. It has become more about ego and self-gratification than doing the right thing because it’s right thing.


We have a generation of activists, community leaders, campaigning politicians, career politicians, and legislators. It's a rare exception that these roles can meld into an ethical leader. The 2008 season started this downward, free-fall spiral and the 2010 season is taking us further into the gutter.


Out of well over 30 people running for one office or another emerging from Frederick County, I can count on one hand the ones I feel worthy of representing our views either on the county, school, state or federal level. We, the citizens, need to demand better; we deserve better.


It's time for all of us to really consider the importance of the principles we hold dear. Do you need to reassess, or do you need to get back to basics. Only you can decide these things, but you need to question yourself and then go out and question the candidates.


Don't fall for empty promises; ask your questions; demand accountability and expect answers; you deserve it; don't settle for half baked attempts at politicized efforts. If you can't get a straight answer, then it's time to move on and find someone who can answer your questions.


…and finally…


As frustrating as this election season has become, what is even more frustrating is the apathy that surpasses principles, parties, slates, etc. If we can't get the public up off their lazy apathetic rears, there's little else we can do. More than any other election cycle you've got education of the public and interviewing of candidates 24/7. The newspapers, TV, radio, and now web-TV, running articles, questionnaires, interviews, forums, etc.; but it appears very few are paying attention.


I don’t expect miracles, but we can each do our part and, literally, make a difference. Go out and do your part, educate yourself, share it with others and vote. Then encourage others to do the same.


Remember that in this primary two candidates won seats by less than 10 votes; so, when asked, the answer is YES, your vote does matter. I bet at least six supporters are kicking themselves because they thought it was in the bag for the person they support and didn’t feel like their vote mattered. Oh, how very wrong you were. You didn’t vote and your candidate lost because of YOU!


 . . . . ’til next time . . .




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