Friday, January 30, 2009

Welcome to Connecticut! Help Yourself

Reading a sampling of the state's newspapers in the last couple of days, it looks like Hartford's Mayor, Eddie Perez, has followed in the Connecticut big-city tradition of Ganim, Santopietro and Giordano, each in his own special way, and allowed himself to get caught being venal and greedy.

Maybe we here in The Land of Steady Habits are just numbed or there's just too much else going on right now in our lives and across our nation, but (to me) it seems so far the public reaction has been more along the lines of 'of course. Tell me something I didn't know.'

I don't think it's just me, but when we speak of politicians in the abstract we use a tone of voice usually reserved for describing how we removed something unpleasant from the sole of our shoe with a stick. The word doesn't seem to sound right unless said with a sneer. The other side of that coin is that each of us knows someone, somewhere, engaged in our town in public office (and thus, by definition, a politician) of whom we are inordinately fond and/or of whom we speak in the highest of tones because he/she is making a positive difference for all of us.

I'm NOT suggesting the Rebecca of Sunny Brook Farm News Agency bring us only stories about public officials behaving well in office (what would they print on the other side of the 3 by 5 card?) and doing right things right. Those who treat the public trust like a private trough, and it's not restricted to just Connecticut (yes, Rhode Island I am looking in your direction as I type this) or New England or even just the USA, fail themselves and all of us with their actions and their (absence of) ethics.

There's a passage in the Old Testament where, after Cain slew Abel, The Lord asked of him where Abel was and Cain responded 'Am I my brother's keeper?' Today, working a second job because of layoffs in the sheep herding industry, Cain might ask 'do you want fries with that? ' But his original question and its implication still resonates.

The great thing about being a pessimist, 56 years (plus) here at the ant farm, is that I can only be surprised and NEVER disappointed. Hartford's Mayor Perez, like all the GBs (grotesque backgammoners? No, try greedy ba$tard$) just reaffirmed my own (too little) faith in my fellow travelers here on the big blue marble. Demonstrating again, the Lord gave us two hands so we could help ourselves and two pockets to put it all in. And when I ask 'can I get an Amen?' the congregation is out in the cloakroom picking one another's pockets--just to stay in practice.
-bill kenny

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