The late U.S. House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, Jr. once said, “All politics is local.” He forgot to mention that local politics can also be dirty.
That’s the ugly lesson that Johnson City voters, who received a letter from a group purporting to be “Citizens for Sensible Government,” have learned this week. The letter does not advocate for any specific candidate on the city’s April 23 ballot. Instead, its author (or authors) takes aim squarely at Jenny L. Brock, a candidate for City Commission.
The letter makes a number of questionable, not to mention petty and small-minded accusations, one being that Brock (who was born and raised in Johnson City) has spent “90% of her life living far from this area in the northern part of the US and Asia.” For the most part, this could all be dismissed as just silly stuff if it wasn’t for the fact some voters might actually be swayed by this nonsense.
Most disturbing, however, is that we don’t know who is making these charges. There is no evidence that any such group exists. No one signed the letter. There were no officers listed on the letterhead and no return address was provided. Citizens for Sensible Government may be no more than one or two tricksters with an ax to grind and a mailing list.
Nonetheless, this letter demeans the political process. It is gutter politics, and you know what you usually find in gutters — rats.