Friday, January 24, 2014

Would that it was a trend

We'd all like to vote for the best man, but he's never a candidate. ~Frank McKinney "Kin" Hubbard

David Waddell was a city councilman in a little town called Indian Trail, North Carolina. His fifteen megabytes of Internet fame is due to the fact that he decided to resign his position and did so by turning in a resignation letter in Klingon.

Dwell for a moment on just how stupid that is. If that isn't bad enough, Mr. Clever's resignation letter was written in bad Klingon. I mean, if you're going to do something juvenile, at least do it with correct grammar.

Mr. Waddell evidently decided to resign because he was “frustrated with what he saw as runaway development in the town as well as concerns with how requests for public information were being handled.” In other words, he didn't agree with what the mayor and council were doing, so, rather than do what he could within the system, he quit.

We have to assume that he was duly elected to council in Indian Trail, not appointed or carried to City Hall by a mob determined he should be forced to sit in city council meetings. So not only did he act like a childish dolt with his Klingon resignation, he spit in the eye of everyone who voted for him.

There is something about local government that seems to bring these sorts of people out of the woodwork. I've seen a lot of city councils and at one time or another, they have a member who is simply against everything unless it helps his/her district directly. And, in towns like my old home town and possibly Indian Trail which are small, councilmen are often elected at large, so they don't even have a district to make happy. That allows them to be against everything.

All these people generally do is extend meetings by making tiresome speeches or raising endless points of order (I can recall more than one that used to carry a copy of Roberts Rules of Order in his pocket). Fortunately, there's generally only one per council, so business carries on.

The funny thing is that these sorts of people often get re-elected. The primary reason is that they get stuff for the voters in their district; one would think at-large elected-officials would have a tougher time staying in office without doing something useful. The problem is that people tend to vote for incumbents which saves them the trouble of thinking. It's also a case of the devil-you-know versus the devil-you-don't-know.

There is a flip side to this incident in that, luckily for Indian Trail, Mr. Waddell is resigning so they're not being penalized for their mistake. They don't have to wait for another election to correct their lapse in judgment, and he won't be in the list of incumbents. He'll actually be gone.

Now, you may not have noticed, but the U.S. Congress has become essentially useless. It has a lower approval rating than used-car salesmen. One reason would appear to be that Congress is chock-full of Waddells who are against everything and refusing to work with others to come up with solutions. Aren't these people frustrated? They're not getting their way, just like Mr. Waddell didn't get his. Wouldn't they prefer to just sit on the sidelines and complain, like Mr. Waddell wants to do in the future? I'm sure we can all think of Representatives and Senators, Republicans and Democrats, who would improve Congress just be resigning (at least a half dozen come to mind immediately; given some time, I'm sure I could do better). So obstructionist legislators, we hope you will come to realize the wisdom of David Waddell and will follow his -um- courageous lead and quit.

Heck, I'm sure there's plenty of folks who'll help you with the Klingon translation for your resignation letter.

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