Several decades ago I was a Republican. This information will startle many, but when they started losing their minds, I left that side of the aisle. They are still severely in need of white coats that buckle in the back, but I thought people might enjoy a blast from the past when I was really angry with Jerry Brown over the busing issue. As a single, working mother, I didn’t want the state carting my kids all over creation at a huge cost while forcing them to breath freeway effluvia a couple of hours a day. Since I had access to an opinion column of a weekly paper in the San Fernando Valley, the following piece published in 1979 was the result and might be fun now that I am rooting for Jerry and his battles against the marauding right wing while trying to make some headway against California’s budget mess. Still the very last line holds up for all politicians everywhere and at all times.
While re-reading it, I realized that absolutely nothing has changed in 31 years except that Linda Ronstadt and I have gotten a lot older. At least she can still sing and I can still write.
Jerry Brown…bringing up the rear!
The recent gubernatorial elections have placed Jerry Brown in the politically enviable position of being as liberal or conservative as he wishes by the simple expediency of leaving town while avoiding the honor of being ridden out on a rail.
It would seem that with the prospect of the Presidency in the offing that the Governor has taken a cue from previous aspirants for that office and chosen to be viable without the necessity of fulfilling his present office in such a way as to draw neither praise nor criticism.
In our current society there are few who would begrudge Mr. Brown a vacation at his own expense or deny him the comfort and companionship of Miss Ronstadt, nor even accuse him of having gone from potential pontiff to peripatetic profligate all in one lifetime. But the question must arise as to how one governs a state in absentia, only returning long enough to rescind any Lieutenant Gubernatorial decisions he feels cast him in a politically ambiguous position with his party’s hierarchy.
The degree of public participation in the elective process has been most noticeable recently by its absence. While apathy is not a laudable virtue, it can be understood if not condoned by the fact that we have been cozened once too often by empty slogans followed by little or no action. The citizens faith in our politicians can best be restored by those in office making their attitudes known on all issues and then making those attitudes available to the populace for acceptance or rejection.
Slogans are fine for sixty second television ads, but they have no place in the actual process of governing. It is time for hard practical decisions not double talk. When one is elected to lead, leadership is expected. Most particularly when it means choosing sides and making definite statements of position. At a time when several issues are coming to a head in our state from the curtailment of government spending and waste in the wake of Proposition 13 to one aspect of the methods by which all the children of the state may best be served by our educational system, it is improper for the Governor of that state to go from cant to recant.
The whole basis of our government is an informed and active populace. Ad campaigns do not inform. Buzz words and catch phrases coined by well paid PR men and speechwriters do not encourage the involvement of the electorate. It is a time for those elected to office and those who placed them in that position to assume their mutual responsibilities.
Jerry Brown can best demonstrate his ability to perform the duties of any elective office by having the courage to call a special election on the issues of government spending and forced busing which are now ready for the public’s decision. If he feels this would tarnish his image, he could at least have the grace to leave town long enough for Mike Curb to do the job properly, and then Jerry can return and once more lead the way by bringing up the rear.
Catchy jingles may sell soap – once. They can even sell politicians – once. But unless the image is backed up by action, both the soap and the politician will go down the drain.