Howdy y’all! It has been awhile, hasn’t it? I was busy reading the Epic of Gilgamesh in Sumerian. Not really. I was teaching myself capoeira. No, that’s not true either. I moved. Not to Durham, though. Familiar readers (bless you!) will recall my love for the Bull City, but Durham is a dream deferred. I’m now a proud Chapel Hillian and, what with this and that, haven’t paid as much attention to state politics as a good Pulsie should. Last night, as I sat amid lists of things to do and plotted elaborate renovations that will never come to pass, the State Highway Patrol saga broke through the relocation fog that has hung over me these several months. I can see clearly now and the pain ain’t gone.
Governor Perdue’s announcement yesterday of tough (ha!) measures to restore the SHP’s integrity was stunning in its lameness. At least two of her four measures are already in place. Strangely, Perdue’s proclaiming it “a new day” didn’t cause a shift in the time-space continuum to make that any less obvious or true. Nor did predicting “a little bit of a flavor change” have the same effect as actually firing the people in charge of the wayward department. If you want to restore public confidence in the highway patrol, Guv’ner, start with the people in charge. They don’t deserve to keep their jobs, especially if it’s true, as you say, that a few bad seeds are ruining the reputation of the whole force. It’s time to cut bait, starting with the man at the top.
That brings us to the ultimate embarrassment of yesterday’s presser. Having her spokeswoman rush the governor offstage practically mid-sentence was not commanding or confidence-inspiring. While it was clear to all, even those of us befuddled by moving, that Perdue was painting herself into a corner pretty spectacularly, it was pathetic to see her hustled offstage like someone’s drunk-ass dad doing an Arnold Schwarzenegger impression at a rehearsal dinner. (What? You’ve never seen that?) Spokeslady’s giving Glover the hook a few moments later only reinforced the impression that those two have something to hide. Is it really any wonder they can’t manage to shake up the management at SHP enough to make a real change? Is it any wonder that questions about ethics and integrity cling like a Code Orange fug to the whole department? Today the majority of troopers, dedicated and honest professionals, have their commander and their governor to thank for that.