Three weeks...that's how much time is left until (hopefully) the worst of this battle is over in Troy.
That's right...even though the outcome may very well be the last thing I want...in three weeks we'll KNOW the direction this city will take. It can go one of two ways:
1) Robin Beltramini will be elected, and the healing can begin. Robin is the only QUALIFIED candidate for mayor who can bridge the divide between the factions of residents in the city the way she allowed the library funding to be bridged until that issue could be decided for once and for all.
No matter the council make-up, with Robin at the helm...the ship can be righted.
2) Robin Beltramini will not be elected...and we will be subject to the constant parade of lies, inaccuracies and misinformation that has beaten us down for two solid years.
Either way, though...we'll know. And that alone is a relief to me.
Fighting this battle has taken a toll on me...my family...my friends and colleagues. Many of us have continuously worked for the betterment of the city for one...two...three...four...more? years with little rest in between campaign efforts, ballot questions and advocacy on community groups. The newbies amongst us (HELLO! ME!) never in a hundred years imagined how entirely invigorating and thrilling it could be...
...and at the same time? Soul-sucking and demoralizing.
Early on, a woman at council stood up and called me and at least one other speaker/advocate/writer "angry women." She took us to task because we had taken Martin Howrylak to task for...well, any number of things, I guess.
I stand by anything I've said. I'd say it again if the same behaviors continued. One thing I've NEVER been able to reconcile is dishonestly, a lack of integrity, and manipulation. So anyone who practices any of that heard about it from me -- and will continue to hear it.
I've spoken the truth...I've shed light on the misdeeds of others -- held a mirror up for them so they can see what they truly are and have done. That cannot be easy for them. But it isn't WRONG to have done so...it's not dishonest to bring those transgressions to light.
As far as my outward demeanor? It's been a LONG time since I stood at the council podium angry. For one thing, my daughters asked me why I didn't smile when I spoke. So I either tried not to speak when I was most upset, or I tried to find the positive to highlight with a pleasant look upon my face.
Thankfully, as the summer wore on, I had A LOT to be positive about.
But last night...last night, I was beyond the anger...beyond being able to look for the positive...beyond being able to smile much about what is happening here.
Last night I was sick...nauseous, actually...ill. The negativity, the lies, and the outright disrespect shown at the council meeting by citizens of this city toward council members, other citizens and...well...ME...was nauseating. Really no better way to say it.
I couldn't even bring myself to look at -- much less make eye contact with or speak to -- some of the attendees of the meeting last night. The duplicitous behavior turned my stomach. Whether it was the sickly sweet, smarmy self-righteousness or the "aw, shucks, we're all friends!" fakery, I'll never know. But I spent most of the meeting praying I wouldn't l wouldn't lose dinner right there in public.
Frankly, I didn't even park where I normally do once I saw the car of one of the worst offenders. I parked on the police station side of City Hall, knowing I'd not only be safer in general, but safe from running into or having to face them in person.
And then the parade of insults began...how dare 'angry women' come up and speak in public about wrongdoings they notice...how dare a citizens group advocate for a library...how dare ANYONE besmirch the name of Martin Howrylak who nearly single-handedly has decimated our council process and reputation.
How dare we, indeed. It was so much simpler for everyone when there was no organized rebuttal to the constant onslaught of trickery, wasn't it? We just walked like lambs to slaughter into this mess, and we nearly let it kill us.
It's a shame. Were it not for extreme political views and zealous desire to inflict them on the entire city, I'm sure there are many redeeming qualities in the people responsible for the mess. But the behavior this process has unleashed in them cannot be reconciled by me...not right now. Perhaps someday...but tell lies about me, about TRUST/Save Troy this many times, manipulate my words and the words of council members, city administration and the Mayor for personal benefit this many times...well, you'll have some penance to do before I can respect you.
Hopefully, that penance can start in three weeks, no matter the outcome.
Three weeks...three weeks to continue fighting to save Troy.
During that time, please do me a favor if you are as yet undecided. Please Google the names of ALL candidates and read as much as you can. Please verify and fact-check anything you hear about them FROM ANYONE.
Please give your city THREE WEEKS of due diligence.
We so desperately need your three weeks to SAVE TROY.