I have often wondered if corruption in government trickles down from the top or begins at the local level and creeps upward. I believe an AP investigation has answered my question.
As I mentioned a few posts ago, we have a very fractured community with a very active watchdog group. While I think their obsession with finding all things wrong is unhealthy for the community, it is also true that they are not always wrong. My major complaint with them is that they never seem to applaud what is right.
That being said, if there are any local politicians with ambitions for higher office, beware. What you do today, how you vote, what the perception is, be it correct or not, in this age of You Tube and blogging it is quite likely to come back to haunt you at the least opportune moment!
Just look at Sarah Palin. Regardless of what the McCain campaign would like us to believe, they did not properly vet her. Had they done so I doubt she would have been chosen regardless of her youth and gender. Ah, yes, her history of small town politics.
Asking for a zoning exception to sell a house, accepting an "awesome" facial, asking for the loosening of rules for a snow machine race at the time she was a co-owner of a store that sold snow machines. These may appear innocuous enough but they lead to a pattern.
Our town is not unlike many others. The movers and shakers public lives intertwine with their private ones. Sometimes it's difficult to separate the political from the personal and this is where the difficulties begin. As our watch dog group points out day in and day out.
There is a lesson to be learned for both sides from what Sarah Palin is now having to endure. If you hold public office and want to climb the ladder you will be under the most invasive of scrutinies. Like going through airport security every moment of you life with your neighbors wielding the wands.
On the other hand, those doing the watching aren't above risking their own perils. Inaccurate accusations, character assassination, grudge bearing and self righteousness can also come back to haunt. Especially if the intent isn't so much for the good of the community as is preached, but an ambition to take the places of those you disparage as you move them out - or they move on up the ladder.