Note from the Publisher: The foregoing meme has a typographical error. Of course, the word should be “Altruism.” Nevertheless, the newspaper likes the meme despite the error of the person who created the meme.
Eric Yollick, The Golden Hammer
Charlie Riley’s runoff win with only 4,960 votes to Gregory Parker’s 3,905 votes, or a 55.95 % to 44.05 % outcome, was no mandate. Remember that in the March 6 Republican Primary Election when a much broader group of Republicans voted, Riley only received 6,624 votes out of 15,224 cast, or only 43.51% of the total. That’s no mandate. Rather, it reflects something else.
It doesn’t reflect racism. While there was a bit of racism, because Parker is African-American, only a small minority of Riley’s campaign was openly racist.
Riley didn’t shine on policy issues, because the incumbent County Commissioner usually has little grasp of County government policies and has relied on his mentor lame duck County Judge Craig Doyal to direct his voting.
The outcome of the runoff didn’t reflect a choice of the conservative, as Riley has a pro-spending and pro-taxation voting record. Riley believes that the government should direct the economy, a primary tenet of socialism. Amazingly, several of Riley’s supporters over the past few days have expressed their excitement over Riley’s victory since, they believe, it represents a mandate in favor of higher government salaries, County government involvement in providing health care to all, County government involvement in providing schools (apparently in place of the school districts), and County government direct involvement in economic planning.
Riley’s runoff win after 56.49% of Republican voters expressed a desire to replace him during the Republican Primary Election on March 6, 2018, only reflects one very significant fact. We have moved much closer to the tipping point where institutional power will become so strong that individuals will no longer have the freedom to have a meaningful say in their government.
Everything that Riley has done as a County Commissioner and as a government employee before that has supported the strengthening of institutions that subsume individual rights and individual freedom. Riley’s primary political supporters come from two bases. First, wealthy engineering firms and small businesses that receive direct economic benefits from the County government have provided Riley with the money and many of the votes upon which he’s relied. Second, Riley has taken over the Magnolia Independent School District and its tax base to turn them into a personal political tool.
As for Magnolia ISD, after Riley’s win, The Golden Hammer received numerous expressions of concern from independent-minded teachers and administrators in the Magnolia schools that they cannot speak their minds about Riley and his liberal politics for fear of reprisal from the administration under the leadership of Todd Stephens, the Magnolia ISD Superintendent who plays the guitar for Riley’s “Band,” a political instrument which Riley utilizes to engender teacher and parent support inside of the school district. Many of those independent, but quite, teachers and administrators expressed grave concern over the school district’s “Teacher of the Year” dinner around election time as a direct promotion for Riley and his re-election campaign. Riley attended, sat at a table of honor, sponsored many of the prizes, and received constant recognition during the event. Riley’s political opponent in the runoff, Gregory Parker, did not even receive an invitation.
The Magnolia ISD sent e-blasts to teachers and administrators in support of Riley. The school district permitted campaigning for Riley in the carpool lines, although the school district’s police, under the supervision of close Riley political ally Constable David Hill, chased Parker supporters off of the school campuses. The school district hosted Riley campaign events. The school district provided Riley with personnel, use of a school district truck, and use of the school district for storage of his campaign gear.
The Magnolia ISD is a governmental authority and taxing entity. It has no business – at least in the United States of America – openly supporting and working for one candidate in a contested election. This country hasn’t moved that far along the path to Soviet Communism.
Government in general is becoming so big, so wealthy, and so powerful that it’s difficult for any individual to take it one let alone to criticize it. Just drive down the street and look around during the middle of any weekday on a busy road. It’s hard to look in any direction without observing a government vehicle, a government asset, or a government facility within eyeshot. When all of those resources become the tools of political stakeholders, the citizens become powerless.
Riley clearly didn’t receive any sort of electoral mandate. Garnering 4,960 votes out of 143,000 residents in Commissioners Precinct 2 reflects poor turnout but an opportunity to take advantage of voter apathy.
Who is not apathetic? Those who want control of government money and resources. If citizens don’t wake up quickly to the need for their vigilance in elections, after elections, and while any actions of government are occurring, we’ll all find ourselves way past the tipping point where individual freedom is merely a concept our children and grandchildren read about in ancient history books.
Riley’s runoff win represented a shift towards the tipping point where institutions have power and individual citizens are servants.