The 2009 Marathon City Council Election is history. Now, Mike Cinque and Rich Keating will help write the next chapter of Marathon’s history as our re-elected and new Council members. Congratulations and best of luck for the next two years. I wish you both all the best as you take on the issues we face.
I truly appreciate the support and votes that I received from some of Marathon’s finest people. Although we fell a little short of the mark, I believe that we raised some very valid issues in our City that the new Council must address. Rest assured, I’m not going anywhere, and I will remain active, both through the Chamber and personally. Thanks again to the people who showed their support; I truly value your help and friendship.
And now, it’s time for a few observations. First of all, fewer than 30% of Marathon’s registered voters actually bothered to cast a ballot. That’s absolutely pathetic, especially in light of the absentee and early voting opportunities that now exist. There’s an old saying that states people get the government they deserve. For the more than 70% of voters that couldn’t be bothered, you just lost your ability to directly choose who makes the decisions that will affect your life. So if you don’t think your Council / Commission / Representative / Senator / President is doing a good job, tough. You chose not to vote, so your opinion has a much lower value than that of an actual voter. You deserve what you get for allowing a minority of voters to make the choice for you.
To those people who actually voted, thank you for turning out. A lot of good people through the years have fought and died so we can have the right to vote for our leaders, and caring enough to stay informed and cast a ballot honors their sacrifices. Our democratic republic only works if people stay informed and involved. I guess it was just too much for 70% of you to pry yourselves away from Oprah or Jerry Springer or the bar.
One thing about politics is that one discovers who his true friends really are. There are people who promise support, who says they’re totally behind the campaign, yet simply pay lip service. When you’re on top, they’re your best friends. When there’s a true need for them to show commitment or support, they’re nowhere to be found. While I know that’s just how it goes in politics, it makes me appreciate my true friends all the more.
Another thing that’s deeply troubling on both a local and national level is the abject rudeness that some people show. This nation was founded on principles of civil discourse and the ability to disagree on certain issues yet still work together. Unfortunately, people like Lee Atwater and Karl Rove have made demonizing one’s opponents not just an acceptable political tactic, but also a commonplace personal behavior.
I received e-mails from a couple of ignorant or misguided people during the campaign that were quite rude. I use the words ignorant and misguided not to assault their intelligence, but because their written words had very little to do with reality. They had chosen to believe stuff that was so far from the truth that nothing I could have ever said in reply would change their minds. Unfortunately, perception is reality in politics. If you ever want to hear some good stories about yourself that just can’t be true, run for elected office. To those who were personally rude to me (and you know who you are), I won’t waste my time formulating a response you’ll never understand. No matter how much you think you may think know about me, you don’t. Crawl back under your rocks and have a great life.
This year will likely mark my last foray into pursuing elected office. I’ll serve my community in other areas, and I’ll keep writing this column. I still love Marathon, and believe that the people of the Keys are among the best people anywhere. For better or worse, I’m not going anywhere.