The one thing the ancillary players – those folks who love to flit around the political periphery like a hoard of flies – long for more than anything else in this existence is relevance. Their fear of the failure they’ve courted all their lives drives them to do whatever it takes to become part of the story.
But as is always the case whenever you seek that kind of solace outside yourself, like it is with any drug addict, they’ll sacrifice anything – their relationships, principles, and dignity – just to get their next fix.
It’s not unlike observing a group of middle school girls as their allegiances change on an hourly basis. And this time they’ve managed to temporarily turn the conversation around to the subject of Silly Putty
If you recall, at one of the variety of regular meetings, the County Chairman chastised the Coroner for requesting a budgetary increase after he’d spent $1,200 on Silly Putty giveaways. The Coroner responded by claiming that passing out the putty was an opportunity to rehabilitate his office’s longsuffering image.
All I can say is, that certainly was an interesting choice.
To be fair, it is important to note that the virtually every single elected official’s office regularly hands out some sort of trinket to folks who pay them a visit or attend an event.
These items are typically something along the lines of pens, stickers or candy and, what so many interested people seem to be missing is, since it could be construed as campaigning, most of the countywide electeds pay for that stuff out of their own pockets.
Would I have brought up the Silly Putty thing? Despite the vast humorous potential involved – No! Because it only gives the ancillary players another opportunity to wade in, believe they’re still relevant, and distract the rest of us (including a local newspaper) from what’s really important.
And here it is!
While it’s certainly not unusual for a politician to pound his fist on the podium while swearing he will never go over budget until he does, it is rare for an elected official to sign a document stating he’ll keep his budget flat for the next three years and then to ignore it as soon as it suits him.
But even in that peculiar political circumstance, it’s the voters who will ultimately decide if his decision ignites any consequences.
This is the story I fear that’s getting lost in all the Silly Putty discussion silliness. For a former sheriff’s deputy to knowingly undermine any number of Kane County court cases by cavalierly announcing that his failure to label a light switch has potentially corrupted a host of refrigerated evidence, is about as unconscionable as it gets. And for Russell to then blame that inexcusable lapse on anyone but himself makes an already bad situation even worse.
You wanna know what the really sad thing is in all of this ? Russell actually thinks the ancillary players currently rushing to his defense are friends who are fully behind him when the truth is, they’re only out to “get” Chairman Lauzen.
Again, in their compulsive quest for any kind of relevance, they’ll use any willing elected official or “ammunition” like Silly Putty to draw attention to themselves. Did you ever notice how these folks always seem to be against someone? What better way to make yourself feel more important than to relentlessly rail against the leader?
The real irony here is, the people and peers who’ve been offering Russell constructive criticism all along are the ones who truly have his best interest in mind.
Not only do I have nothing against the Coroner, but I would love to see he – and all elected officials – succeed. There’s something to be said for Russell who, having lost a heartbreaking race for Sheriff, managed to come back and win his next election.
But what the Coroner will shortly see is, after consistently encouraging him to make some really bad decisions that only serve their narrow purpose, as soon as he outlives his usefulness, the ancillary players with whom he’s thrown his current lot will drop him faster than Larry King can dump another wife.
So when it comes to Silly Putty and those eternally shrieking ancillary players, I’d like to leave you with something Bill Shakespeare once said. Please pay particular attention to the last sentence:
“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,