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Whole Lotta Hubris Going On

posted on November 9, 2011 by fractalbob

There’s a line from the movie “Badlands,” delivered by Sissy Spacek, that might describe the mood in One-Third Huntsville this morning:

“At this moment, I didn’t feel shame or fear, but just kind of blah, like when you’re sitting there and all the water’s run out of the bathtub.”

I live in Two-Thirds Huntsville, where some of us sat outside after the rain last night and had cocktails as the results came in. There wasn’t any gloating, at least where I was — there was relief, the kind one feels when the crazy relatives who’ve been squatting in your home for too long have finally packed up their El Camino and hit the road.

I can imagine the blahs with which the losers woke up with this morning, but there’s no clue how most of them handled defeat in the local ragster. One story does a good job examining the mindset of the mayor’s race candidates — even taking George Russell’s temperature from somewhere in the bowels of his warehouse or out at his Waterwood outpost. The other story gives short shrift to everyone in Huntsville and New Waverly city races, winners and losers alike. Not one comment from anyone about the outcome of one of the most anticipated elections of recent years.

And somehow The Item managed to run not one but two pictures of Keith Olson on the front page. Keith Olson, star of last season’s paper, still in a drawer of the sideboard in my parents’ dining room. Is this guy a photographic magnet or a leprechaun with the ability to pop into anyone’s photo? I’m gonna test this by taking a picture of the dog to see if Olson shows up in that, too.

How does it feel, Kendall Scudder, to lose to Olson? He and Don Johnson were exactly right about the commitment these booze hounds have to Huntsville. We could have ward-mapped their asses into Walker County for all the good your wiretapping and campus recruiting did.

How does it feel, Cole, Cromer and Hanscom, to lose to a trio of hand puppets? The bright spot here is that you will have plenty to amuse yourself with once Ronald Allen gets a mike and a seat at the council dais.

I hope these folks don’t come away from their campaigns with the wrong idea. It’s advisable to see things for how they are and not how you want them to be. For example, anyone would have had trouble running against Mac for mayor because it was HIS TURN. The public process is just that, but it’s wise to remember that each community has a tradition it observes in these matters. Mac has paid his dues, he was mayor pro tem, it was his turn. It was Tish Humphrey’s turn to win, and maybe it was Dr. Cole’s turn to lose. You don’t get a turn if you don’t know how to pay your dues up front.

But if this is true, how come the Olsons are able to jump the line? Because they’re sponsored by legacy members and they serve the purpose of chessboard pawns. It’s a good idea for these folks not to get any big ideas. They’ll be out of the game when they have served their purpose or as soon as they screw up.

The tragedy — in the classical sense of the word — is that George could have had a turn. Sandra could have had a turn. Karl had a turn. But they squandered it. That’s because there’s a whole lotta hubris going on.

It’s all but certain that some will come away from this election with the wrong idea. The voters’ mandate comes from a Sunday school aversion to nastiness and public conflict and, maybe, the desire to trust authority with decisions that have an impossibly technical back-end. The underlying ideas of the One-Third campaigns were not seriously considered by the majority because their case against the status quo was not convincingly made. Period.

I bet you’re wrong if you think this vote is evidence of a sickening blind faith in the old guard. And if you think it means your grip on establishment institutions and hearts and minds is made of iron, I bet you’re wrong, too.

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