Tim Timmons | Crawfordsville, IN

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May 7, 2021

War and politics and Patriots, oh my!

My sister-in-law is a wonderful person, except for an unfortunate lapse in judgment. Against all logic and the Hoosier genes ingrained in her DNA, she is the biggest New England Patriots fan I know. Most of the family won't even speak of it. I'm relatively sure it must have come from a terrible fall she took as a child. I presume she landed on her head and that's what created this peculiar and erroneous allegiance.
Thing is, we get along fine, really well even. Except, of course, during football season.
Conversely, our editor got an e-mail from a county councilman last week. Our paper didn't agree with a decision the county commissioners made and the councilman suggested that this war must stop.
War? Did the Germans bomb Pearl Harbor and no one told me? Have Blutarsky, D-Day and pals crashed the homecoming parade again? War?
Here's a question. Why is it then that reasonable people can have their differences and get along fine - even when it involves the hated New England Patriots - and yet if you question some of our local politicians it's viewed as a war?
Let's set the scene. To be sure, I have written columns that have questioned and even been critical of decisions and strategies from some of our elected officials. Unfortunately, rather than creating a debate or opening the stage for healthy public discourse, what happened next was a lot of name calling, threats and bluster.
It's hard to understand. How many decisions do the county commissioners, county council, city council, mayor, school boards, town councils make? Hundreds? Thousands? The vast, vast majority of those decisions are good and solid and we publicly say so. On a few occasions, we question a decision. Once in a while, we even disagree with what they do.
That's not OK?
Why is it we can't disagree with, or even question, one of their decisions without it becoming a war?
Look, here's the thing. We don't believe that our elected officials are bad people. They all are doing what some of us - sadly, a minority of us - elect them to do. They were elected to make the difficult decisions needed to keep our community moving forward. Not a thing wrong with that. Just like there's not a thing wrong with disagreeing on a rare occasion. Disagreement fosters discussion and that often leads to better decisions made on behalf of our citizens.
One thing is for sure, there is an unbelievable amount of backstabbing that's gone on. It's kind of like an O'Jays song and no, for you younger people, the O'Jays are not the Irish cousins to Jay-Z.
I've said it before and will say it again. There're a few local political types who take the approach that you're either with us or a'gin us. That's sad. It eliminates debate and discourse. It takes away the right of people to honestly disagree and it does not allow for better decisions because of those disagreements.
I hope that those in office and those around government understand and believe that most of us respect and appreciate the jobs they do. I hope that moving forward we can disagree on occasion without it becoming a war. We'd all be better off.

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