Dignity has left the building . . .

Tue, 06/02/2009 - 3:01pm
By: Letters to the ...

Is it just me? Some things seem so obvious, yet .... Once again I am witness to public officials thinking they are rock stars, behaving with total disregard for the law, expecting the consequences to disappear like smoke, then asking pardon for what they propose to be a mistake.

Children and dogs make mistakes, adults make choices. Elected officials are supposed to be capable of making clear and thoroughly deliberated decisions.

I have a profound appreciation for those who serve our community, but no tolerance for those who take advantage of their position. Our forefathers knew that the experiment they formatted by crafting the rules for a democratic republic would present the world’s greatest opportunity for self-governance.

They also knew that for our system to survive it would take a moral people to participate in it. Elected officials are expected to embody this moral fiber that inspires the electorate to follow the leader. In other words, they are expected to lead by example.

Now, I don’t care what the transgression is, but legal is legal and illegal is NOT legal, no matter where you stand on the issue.

I know there are several people reading this, maybe after just having smoked a joint, who wonder what the “big deal is.”

Look, if anyone wants to try to change the law and make marijuana legal, then do it. Two intelligent and moral people can have a healthy argument as to the merits of the drug wars. But, right now, in Fayetteville, Ga., at least, we have laws.

For anyone who thinks this is a personal attack or an opportunity to stand on some moral high ground, then they don’t know me. I have committed a great deal of time and money, over the last 20 years, in helping others to overcome and beat the disease of addiction. However, I firmly believe that the only way anyone can push past whatever personal issues they suffer is to first face the consequences of their behavior.

For an elected official to admit to several “misdemeanors,” expecting forgiveness for a “mistake,” is a symptom of the problem, not an excuse.

Choices were consciously and deliberately made at several junctures along the way. Acquiring drugs, holding drugs, ingesting drugs (I would say driving while impaired but the police report failed to cite this offense).

What bothers me most is what IS in the police report regarding the request to “settle this right here and right now,” implying an attempt to either bribe or otherwise influence due process.

In my opinion, either believing that you are above the law or under its radar, it’s all the same. Seeking the privilege to make and enforce the law for others requires a respect for the law itself.

Failure to make good choices as an adult, having a total disregard for the law, and then to abuse power to circumvent it does not meet the fundamental criteria of respect.

I am trying to raise two healthy minded teens in an environment that is already difficult at best. I don’t need a local example of “what not to do” on top of the other challenges that kids face daily. I am sure I am not alone, but have to wonder about the lack of outrage.

How have we gotten to the place where an elected official stands indignant and refuses to remove himself from the scene, allowing the community to move on without his disgrace hanging over all of us?

How is it that a man can believe that his legal right to retain an elected seat is more important than the example set to thousands of children in the community that he supposedly cares so much for?

How is it that someone has the audacity to ask his community to forgive, forget, and reinstate trust, without taking the action so obvious to the average voter?

Of course, all of this would be unnecessary banter if only someone had the decency to do the right thing: RESIGN.

Pat Hinchey

Fayetteville, Ga.

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