The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Lou Marzeles

Bureaucrat Man: an antihero for these troubled times


Here’s what we’d like to see in a public notice in this newspaper:

“CITY STALWART. The City of Goldendale seeks person with strong moral fiber and visionary leadership, able to hear the words ‘I’ll get you and your little dog, too’ without quaking in terror and turning into an insipid bureaucrat. Must be nine-tenths John Wayne and able to mutter, ‘A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do,’ unless the person is a woman whereupon she is free to spout some other equally inspiring aphorism. Other nine-tenths (yes, we want someone larger than the sum of his or her parts) must be combination of American patriots from days of yore like Patrick Henry (‘Give me liberty or give me death’) and George Washington (‘Morality is a necessary spring of popular government’). Starting salary: the deep gratitude of a municipality and its people, the innate fulfillment arising from following an inner guidance rather than an outer trend.”

The ad would be to replace Bureaucrat Man (BM), the city’s current quick-as-a-bunny, go-to guy. BM hustled when the mighty city he served called upon him to do nothing, say less, and basically treat the citizens like mushrooms, kept in the dark and fed fertilizer. But thankfully the city realizes it needs someone more dynamic.

OK, perhaps this mocking is too harsh. Let’s be fair: this town is filled with really good people. Some of them are on the city council. The mayor himself is a perfectly nice guy. The real issue may be simply that our city leaders just don’t have enough experience dealing with megatrends emerging from urban vicissitudes, now being visited upon this rural backwater. Who knew we’d have to deal with the likes of implementation of a state initiative at odds with federal law? It doesn’t help that we’re faced with astonishing stupidity and ineptitude on the issue from a federal administration that leads by the gravitational pull of mass banality.

It’s a weird thing, this conflict of states’ rights versus federal authority. The administration wants it both ways: follow our lead, but hey, if you states want to do something wacky like legalize a federally controlled substance, well, gosh, there’s nothing we can do. While you’re at it, you states can also print your own currency and open embassies to all the other states and other equally foreign powers.

The people of Washington—well, more correctly, the urban centers west of the Cascades—voted their own will as superior to federal law. Now that hubris is rolling downhill, a landslide verging on overwhelming Goldendale and its municipal officials. They haven’t matched in leadership what proponents of the supremacy of state law possess in the way of sheer in-your-face, what-are-you-going-to-do-about-it arrogance. They’re going to need to.

Goldendale leadership: take a stand, for crying out loud. Who do you think you are, the federal government? Do something. Get off your inertia and leave a mark of proactivity on the future of this community.


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