A pledge too farWritten by Michael Miller | Editor in Chief Emeritus | firstname.lastname@example.org
In a Sept. 15 column, one of the elderly white gentlemen at The Blade wrote that Toledo mayoral candidates Mike “Thunderdome” Bell and D. Michael “The Dean” Collins should sign “The Clean Campaign Pledge developed by the Institute of [sic] Global Ethics, a Maine-based nonpartisan group that promotes ethical behavior and integrity in public and private life.”
A number of people posted comments on the irony of The Blade asking anyone to sign an ethics pledge, but more pressing is that
this is the worst possible suggestion to guide this campaign through November. This is a Toledo mayoral election, not a game of Monopoly at The Toledo Club.
Reginald Oldmoney III: “I say, old chap, I seem to have landed on Free Parking. Vermont Cheshire Rules clearly state I should collect all the money in the Community Chest, but since we did not state that before I rolled the dice, I will forfeit that opportunity, wot, wot.”
Flapjack Butterworth IV: “Indeed, old man, that’s very sporting of you. What say we end this competition and go soak in the blood of the proletariat, wot, wot?”
Reginald Oldmoney III: “Capital idea!”
Bell and Collins predictably took the bait and signed the pledge.
I recently had a conversation with Schylar Meadows of The Juice 107.3FM about the mayoral race. We agreed that while Bell and Collins both have their supporters, no one is really fired up, passionate or mobilized by either candidate.
Now that these men have signed the ethics pledge and promised to behave, the campaign will be as boring as Jack Ford’s daily planner.
8 a.m.: Breakfast
9 a.m.: Nap
10 a.m.: Console Joe McNamara
11 a.m.: Nap
1 p.m.: “Judge Judy”
2 p.m.: Nap
3 p.m.: Match socks
4 p.m.: Nap
6 p.m.: Dinner
7 p.m.: Bedtime
Rather than put muzzles on Bell and Collins, it would have been fun to see which man really wants to lead Toledo by gettin’ down and dirty. Collins is a South End Irish cop and Marine. Bell is an Asian firefighter and Harley biker. Why in Carty’s name would anyone want to restrict these two men with a Narnia unicorn ethics pledge? Screw that. Turn these two mothers loose. Politics is about scheming, shuffling money, shifting blame and kicking ass when someone is stupid enough to expose their flanks. Gentlemanly pinkie-promise tea parties might be how the Harvard Rowing Club gets things done, but this is Toledo — home to Bob “Bulldog” McCloskey, Opal “The Prophetess” Covey and Carty “Marine Denyin’, Dog-In-Car-Lockin’, Coffee-Cup-Tossin’, F-Bomb-Droppin’” Finkbeiner. Not only should these men not have signed the ethics pledge, they should have seriously considered bitch-slapping anybody who waved such a pledge in their faces.
“Excuse, me, Sir, I’d like to know why you haven’t signed this pledge —”
Now we get a campaign directed by Steven Spielberg instead of a campaign directed by Martin Scorsese.
Toledo should take its cue from the world stage. Russia’s Vladimir “The Assassin” Putin has taken charge of the Syria crisis and made Barack “The Waffler” Obama look weak and ineffectual. Do you want candidates kissing each other on the cheeks and holding hands at Our Lady of Perpetual Suffering bake sales, or do you want two men willing to win the right to run Toledo by slipping on brass knuckles, baring teeth, stealing each other’s women and bringing the pain?
Who is better suited to lead Toledo into development battles with Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and the rest of the region — a simpering, crotchless panty-wearing, One Direction fan willing to sign away his right to win by any means necessary or a walkin’ tall, Machiavelli-reading, Samuel L. Jackson-quoting baller who knows you don’t make a motherf—–g omelet with breaking a few motherf—–g eggs?
This could still be salvaged. Instead of a debate, let’s stage a cage match in which the two candidates choose their potential chief of staff as Heath Ledger’s Joker did — let’s see Bell and Collins snap a pool cue in half, hand a piece to their top two candidates, and remind them there is only one job opening. If they adhere to this pledge, we’ll have to watch Bell and Collins curtsy and waltz for an hour as they sing a Katy Perry song about fairness and diction, instead of seeing them unleash Hell on each other like Dr. Dre vs. Luke Campbell.
It is no secret that Bell and Collins dislike each other. Why should they be forced to fake smile and act out two months of bull—t? What insight is that going to offer? Aren’t you tired of the masks and pretending and phony politicking? Aren’t you tired of the hypocrisy, closed-door deals and people who would rather drown you in paperwork than face you like men? Bell and Collins should have the freedom and resources to be who they are without worrying about distressing the egghead community’s collective pyloric valve.
The Cambridge way ain’t our way. Let’s look to another C-town, Chicago, to set the tone. Set down the quill and pick up a baseball bat. Put away the driving mittens and let’s lace up the spiked gloves.
Take that ethics pledge and stuff it in your ivory tower basement. Let Bell and Collins stay free to fight it out in the interest of standing tough for Toledo.
Michael S. Miller is editor in chief of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Email him at mmiller@toledo freepress.com.