The Colonel’s Plan – Twisted, Bent and Worn-Out

November 7th, 2018

Dear Daddy –

Well, it’s November. Was it November the last time I wrote? Maybe. It’s been a very hectic week, and I don’t remember.

Last night was election night—the 2018 midterm election, and the one in which Maryland picks its governor and Howard County picks its executive. Our incumbent governor, Larry Hogan, is very popular. His competitor, Ben Jealous, is a Californian who was running on what he said was not a socialist platform, but which his deep-pocketed West Coast backers declared would turn Maryland into a “laboratory of democratic socialism.” Predictions said he had no chance of winning, and predictions were right.

But predictions also said that our County Executive, Allan Kittleman, had a double-digit lead over his opponent. Those predictions were wrong. Allan lost by about 6,000 votes, or about 4%. I’ve spent the last six months or more working Allan’s campaign. He’s an honest man and a solid leader, and I think the County was better for his being here. He was endorsed by the police, the firefighters, the Baltimore Sun and an independent ethics committee, not to mention our very popular governor.

It’s sad, but I guess that’s politics. Politics is a very ugly game right now.

I’ve been so busy that I’ve done no writing yet this week, so I took today off to do little else but writing. I did spend a half hour chopping away at the blackberry bramble behind the chicken coop. I figure at a half-hour a week, I can at least carve some paths through it soon.

Because I worked the campaign, the truck is full of campaign signs. We’ve been putting them up since May or June, I think. We put up a bunch more Monday night, at the polling locations—mostly schools. They had to come down today. So I drove around pulling down signs. Depressing, when you’re doing it for candidates that lost.

I came across one of our signs, put up quickly at the last minute, that had twisted and bent when one of the two metal stakes supporting it had come out of the ground. I took a picture of that, because it reminded me of how I felt—twisted and bent and worn out, after doing what I thought was the best job I could. As I finished taking down that sign, I saw an equally twisted piece of paper on the ground nearby—the “Ethics Ballot,” containing candidates recommended by the independent research group I mentioned above. Allan Kittleman’s name was top of the list, and prominent on the shredded piece of paper that lay at my feet.

I know someone accidentally dropped it, and it just blew there by chance.

But I wonder, how many of us accidentally drop our ethics, and leave them, shredded and twisted, in the mud for someone to find after we’ve acted against them?

A sobering thought? Or am I just being symbolic like an over-schooled English major?

I stand by twisted, bent and worn out.



[Editor’s note – 7/30/2019 – I cut 212 of the 723 words I wrote back in November. I cut them because they contain uncensored opinions which could make things uncomfortable for me on the job. Most of you know I’m no stranger to voicing opinions that make everyone uncomfortable, myself included. So you can imagine what it takes to make me censor myself. I also cut some ruminations about my employment future–nothing really new, just, “Should I stay or should I go?” Honestly, right now, I don’t have the energy to go. So I’m staying, and I think I’m still giving the job my all. That’s what I do. If it’s worth doing, after all…]

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