Paying Attention | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Paying Attention

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Brad "Kamikaze" Franklin

While toiling through the task of paying bills, I happened on an article in Sunday's Clarion-Ledger. The article, by Brian Eason, expressed frustrations about gathering information from this year's crop of municipal candidates. From Jackson to Clinton to Byram, it seems that several candidates and their campaigns had problems fulfilling simple requests and following instructions. Information was late--if turned in at all--or not up-to-date.

I thought back to JFP's recent story about the mayoral candidates and how several of them failed to file campaign reports on time. I thought about recent city council forums where candidates have shown up callously late, if at all.

Does any of this raise a red flag for voters? It seems as if politics in the metro area has gone the way of the rap industry and reality TV. Folks see it as an easy way to get famous or to make a quick buck. Why else do we have mayoral candidates that number in the double digits? Do all of these candidates think they have a real chance to win, or are they just looking to garner the attention that comes with running for our city's highest office?

How many of our municipal candidates have competent staff around them--staff that understands the nuances of a campaign? How many of these candidates understand the seriousness of the offices they seek? Or the time it will require? Has our current crop of civic leaders made politics look so easy that anybody thinks they can do it? 

While I love living in a country where any citizen can run for public office, I also hate living in a country where so many think they should. We've got to ask ourselves: Have we, the people, been demanding enough of those we charge to lead us? Are we making them earn the pay and the perks afforded to them? Or are we allowing folks to make politics into a hustle that will earn them some extra spending money and a VIP seat at the Penguin?

If they don't have the common sense to follow a simple set of instructions on a questionnaire, can they be trusted to lead?

In my next column, I'll be revealing my choice for the next Jackson mayor and why. Until then, I'm still paying attention to all the small things--because the small things matter, sometimes more than the big things.

And that's the truth ... sho-nuff.

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