And the winner is . . .
It was party time Tuesday night at Marion Country Club.
Outgoing mayor David Mayfield, incoming mayor Mike Powers, successful candidates Kevin Burkholder and Tim Baxa, holdover councilman Zach Collett plus others in Marion’s power elite gathered to celebrate yet another victory for their team.
Across town, at the Courthouse, where politicians traditionally have gathered to await election results, only one candidate was present along with former council member Gene Winkler and former council candidate Darvin Markley.
Incumbent Ruth Herbel pointedly wasn’t invited to the country club. “Stronger together” apparently means stronger without her. Or, for that matter, this newspaper.
When a Record reporter showed up at the country club to do what reporters everywhere do on election night and photograph winners’ celebrations, she was ordered to leave.
As the door to the party room swung closed behind her, her departure was followed by whoops and cheers.
It now becomes even more important to secure whatever messages local officials tried to hide by using personal phones and personal email accounts in planning illegal raids on Herbel’s home as well as the newspaper office and the home of its co-owners.
Until then, Marion will continue to be governed by alpha-dog rules. Whatever anyone who appears to have the most power wants will be approved without question. And anyone like Herbel, who questions things on behalf of voters, will be hounded from office.
The sad thing is that the people of Marion don’t want to be ruled by an elite but never seem to see facts instead of images. They seem to believe things aren’t bad unless someone points out that they are, and then it’s the person who points them out that’s to blame.
A plurality of voters apparently would prefer having things be wrong as long as no one knows about them. If they can get on social media and be told how great things are, they’ll happily ignore whatever the truth might be and continue grazing on inconsequential matters like so many cattle being fattened for slaughter.
The symbolism of a political elite intentionally excluding Herbel, retreating to a country club, then rallying behind closed doors without news coverage — as if they had something to hide — ought to provoke outrage. So should the city’s rude act of turning its back on a dedicated public servant whose home it needlessly and illegally raided. Voters welshed on a very big debt they owed Herbel.
They ignored facts, ignored any sense of obligation, and gave in to a siren song of gossip and social media trollings that these days seem to want to blame the victims of the Aug. 11 raids rather than the perpetrators.
But what the heck? There’s a new video of a cat flushing a toilet on Facebook. Watching that, downing a few brewskis, and giving praise to anyone and everyone who accepts that Pleasantville is better in black and white is what life’s all about, isn’t it?
— ERIC MEYER
Last modified Nov. 9, 2023