"The short memories of American voters is what keeps our politicians in office" - Will Rogers.
Fire Starter has noticed a phenomena amongst politicians both nationally and locally. It is borne of a contempt for the voter and our attention span. It appears that politicians believe that because they will not have to face the voters for several years, they can do most anything and the voters will forget by the next election.
Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan is a case in point. Does anyone recall him promising this "cost of war" counter during the election? Was this the centerpiece of his plan for Binghamton redevelopment? If it was it was a well kept secret. But now that the next election is 3 1/2 years away, it has come to the fore as a pressing need for Binghamton.
That politicians pander to their base is of no surprise. However, Fire Starter questions whether such a divisive issue is what the community needs in these difficult financial times. At a time when we should be uniting around common goals and shared values, we are torn apart for a cheap political gimmick that pleases only a handful of our community's most radical elements.
This phenomena is not unique to Binghamton. Mayor Hannon was appointed mayor of Johnson City last spring. At that time, he hid behind his fellow board members in taking action against village fire fighters. All was quiet until he was elected Mayor in November. Once secure in the fact that he would not face voters for 4 years, he began his systematic attack on anyone whom he deemed his enemy.
Does anyone recall Mayor Hannon's platform of squelching dissent and punishing enemies? Does anyone recall being told that the key to revitalization of the Village was hinged on the persecution of the enemies of the state? Or did his jack-booted tactics only come to the fore after he was elected?
We have Dempsey, Maney, & Potts for starters. All individuals who dared to speak truth to power. There was the proposed "speech policy" which sought to limit the public's right to question its representatives. And don't forget the political pay-offs. A lowly maintenance man was fired to cover for Hannon's cronies, the Gallaghers.
Mayor Hannon always claims to be acting in the "public interest". But the real test is to ask yourself: Would Mayor Hannon have taken these actions if he knew he would be facing the voters in the fall? If so, why did he wait until after the election.
Probably more importantly you can ask yourself: If I knew then what I know now, would I have voted for Dennis Hannon or Matt Ryan? Was this really the program I was supporting or was there a "bait and switch".
And most importantly, am I willing to tell these cowardly "leaders": "I WILL REMEMBER".