The history of government in Barry County is riddled with incompetence. All one has to do, is read back issues of the local newspaper for the last few years to see a pattern of government mismanagement, and malfeasance. These incidents seem to have one thing in common:
An inbred local culture of politicians that do nothing better with our tax dollars than fight for who gets to live on the taxpayers dime first. Many without a clue as to how to perform their jobs effectively. From arguments against the old boy network in the not too distant past, to recent allegations against the former director of 911 last year, Charlton Park, gun rights battles in the streets of Hastings, and allegations of sexism in city hall.
The mismanagement of our area mirrors what has been happening at the state level, and in Washington, D.C. . Corporate lobbyists, and incompetent partisans placed in bureaucratic jobs fulfilling agendas that in no way mirror the wants, and needs of constituents. These people are so busy scratching each others backs, they seem to have forgotten their intended duties. Many seem to believe that their singular duty is getting elected.
Now please don't lump me in with the pessimists. I will not call for throwing all of the bums out here. Such rhetoric has only helped divide our nation, rather than mobilize voters to help complete the change that is needed.
Besides, there are no competitive parties that have ponied up alternatives in this county.
No Independent party members,
and most sadly of all, no Democrats.
Much has been made of whether or not a Democrat can win in Barry County. I think this is the wrong question. I'd ask why won't decent Democrats run in Barry County. I think the answer is that the local party has been a complete and utter failure, and that they fear the voters wouldn't listen anyway. There's also been a deliberate misinformation campaign that suggests Democrats have never won and can never win in the future. This is bull.
National polls have hinted for some time at a solid Democratic majority in Washington next January. Democrats could potentially take the State Senate and be in control in Lansing. And yet the local Democratic Party has failed to take advantage of this potential landslide and get warm bodies to fill up empty ballot slots. Not one Democrat ran for County Commission.
While many still walk around with the cartoon image of the 1960s Democratic Party in their minds, the truth is that the radical party in this country is the Republican Party. The Republican party is an echo chamber full of many supposed civil servants who have perfected the art of "group think". Positions filled (from cabinet positions all the way down to secretarial duties at local levels), have been done in such a way that only those that could pass the most stringent of purity tests need apply. Even here on these very web pages, many candidates are called out for being RINO (Republican in name only) candidates, and mocked for not putting party above principal, and contributing time, and money to sell agendas they may not completely agree with. The Republican party's "big tent" seems to shrink aggressively with every election cycle. Many would have attempted to throw their own presidential nominee to the curb, had he not towed the line in choosing his "politically acceptable" (god forbid) replacement if something should happen.
The Democratic Party since the defeat of Jimmy Carter has been moving closer and closer to the middle, in fact Carter himself was a centrist who defeated the more liberal Teddy Kennedy. While many swallowed the Rush Limbaugh hype about President Clinton, Clinton was an avowed centrist who favored market solutions over governments. He enacted welfare reforms, and other measures that were more akin to the traditional Republican platform than the Democratic Party's. All the while leading his party into a more progressive position.
Despite the fact that many Democrats wanted to see a hard leftward swing after 7 years of George W. Bush's far right governance, Barack Obama won his party's nomination with talk of conciliation and compromise. Now, the country stands poised to elect a Democratic Congress and Senate and Obama's prospects in November look decent. His promise of more responsive government is rooted in the idea that the president needs to take council from all sides of the political spectrum, in contrast to that of our present administration which asks for reverberation rather than option.
We have already seen the effects brought on by one party's incestuous government control. We've seen already the effects of smaller, meaner government, having too much power, in Washington, and right here in Barry County. We have seen the loss of employers, as well as that of job security here. Everyone is feeling the pinch of the economic disaster that was bred in Washington D.C.. Make no mistake, many of the Republicans in this county have fully supported the president, and his administrations actions that have lead to the problems we are facing.
Change can happen here, as well as in the nations capitol.
A Democrat Can Win in Barry County.
But in order for this to happen, we need more competent Democrats to run in Barry county, and give the voters a reason to believe that they can make a difference.
Democrats need to fight the battle for the people here, in order to ensure that they can do the same in the capitol. Republicans built their following from the bottom up, and the Democrats need to do the same. Democratic candidates cannot afford to be the fall back vote, or the angry protest vote, they must be the only logical vote. For this to happen there needs to be a ballot full of Democrats.