For a blogger, the loss of a pol like Shelley Stanczyk is mixed blessing, but in the spirit of the holiday, we will just be thankful. And because we know that service is a sacrifice in and of itself, we say thank you to Mrs. Stanczyk and her family for their service to the Village of Palmetto Bay.
Running for office is like having multiple examinations by an unfamiliar doctor, and Henry Clifford willingly and, we understand, cheerfully submitted to having himself inspected. Here at the SDM Proctology Department, we say thank you Mr. Clifford for fighting the good fight.
To SDM’s new victims…er…to the newly elected members of the village council :) SDM says welcome aboard and Laissez les bons temps rouler!
As you enter upon the duties assigned to you, SDM has some advice:
Where you stand depends on where you sit.
-Rufus E. Miles, Jr. (1910-1996), an assistant secretary under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson
New elected officials are often surprised at the ferocity of opposing sides, especially on seemingly innocuous issues. Miles’s law explains why. As you understand better the various issues currently on the table and the ones that will arise during your tenure, keep in mind that good politicians understand and accept that people factionalize based on their points of view. Your job is to understand these ephemeral and constantly changing perspectives and harmonize them when possible; when impossible, your job is to accept them and move on.
You can’t fool all the people all the time.
Politics can sometimes seem to be the art of obfuscation and misdirection. National politicians obsess over managing the news cycle and spinning their positions, usually to no avail because the truth eventually comes out. Experience tells us that trying this tactic on a local level leads to political disaster.
The truth is that politics at its best is gentle honesty. SDM likens the art to telling a child that it’s time to move out of the house and start her life or telling a parent that he can no longer have a driver’s license.
Your job is to tell your constituents the facts and to act in our best interests as you see them at the time. If you spin the story and make an expedient choice, eventually we will learn the worst truth of all: that you failed to protect us. Your constituents will forgive – or at least mitigate – an honest mistake.
If you want a friend in politics, get a dog!
SDM paraphrased a quote often mis-attributed to Harry Truman. (The line comes from a play about his life. There is no evidence he ever said it.) He did say this, however: “When you get to be President, there are all those things, the honors, the twenty-one gun salutes, all those things. You have to remember it isn’t for you. It’s for the Presidency.”
It’s going to hurt a little the first time it happens, but eventually you will have to choose between a friendship and the right thing to do. Real friends will understand and might even accept your explanation, but there will be more who claim the mantle of friendship, but who merely need your office.
You must remember the immortal words of Michael Corleone: “It’s not personal… It’s strictly business.” The sooner you understand this aspect of the business you have chosen, the better you will represent the Village People.
Note to Readers: SDM will be taking a break for the Thanksgiving Holiday. From our families to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!