Time is fleeting;
Madness takes its toll.
But listen closely…
Not for very much longer…
I’ve got to keep control.
Never thought the lyrics from a song in The Rocky Horror Picture Show would come to mind while attending a public meeting or hearing in Floyd County but the words from “Time Warp” runs through the head a lot lately.
Public hearings have become side shows, dominated by a vocal few spouting conspiracy theories, quoting the Book of Revelation and issuing dire warnings about socialist conspiracies and a bogeyman under nearby rocks.
Too many of these claims are created by local activists who twist facts to fit narrow-issue agendas driven by political organizations with hidden motives.
Too often in recent weeks, local citizens who should know better go to the podiums of local meetings and rant and rave about socialist plots and United Nations-driven conspiracies. Speakers misquote the Bill of Rights, invoke visions of Armageddon and drag the Bible into land-use debates with dire warnings of “boiling babies in oil.”
A few of these troublemakers are homegrown but most are transplants who apparently saw Floyd County as fertile ground for stirring up problems by using false facts and misinformation to generate controversy.
As a result, public meetings have become studies in rude social behavior where so-called adults utter extemporaneous comments from the audience, talk loudly among themselves and allow their ringing cell phones — more often than not with some bizarre ring tone — to add to the din.
Some are members of the local tea party who bring their group’s national agenda of distraction, diversion and disruption to what was once a peaceful community of meetings where people respected decorum and courtesy. Others just like to make trouble.
Our local elected and appointed officials have difficult jobs. They do the best they can. There is — and should be — places in meetings for reasoned public comment but the last thing our elected officials need is the diversion that comes from listening to small minds spout big lies. Our community deserves better than having loudmouth agitators disrupt public meetings because they lack social skills, manners or basic courtesy.
It’s interesting that some of those who come to meetings and preach fiscal responsibility are often hauled into Floyd’s General District Court by creditors because they don’t pay their own bills.
It’s disturbing that the long string of one-liners spouted by some speakers at public meetings are lifted — word for word — from web sites that preach racism and white supremacy.
Hopefully, this behavior is an anomaly that will soon pass. Fringe groups come and go. The current crop are the CB-radios of modern politics — a fad with a lot of flash and very little substance. With luck, they will disappear into the dung-heap of other fake populist movements.
Until they do, some meetings in Floyd County will remind us of The Rocky Horror Picture Show or perhaps the words from an Emerson, Lake and Palmer song:
Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends
We’re so glad you could attend
Come inside! Come inside!
There behind a glass is a real blade of grass
be careful as you pass.
Move along! Move along!
Come inside, the show’s about to start
guaranteed to blow your head apart
Rest assured you’ll get your money’s worth
The greatest show in Heaven, Hell or Earth.
You’ve got to see the show, it’s a dynamo.
You’ve got to see the show, it’s rock and roll ….
(Lyrics from “Time Warp” by Richard O”Brien and “Karn Evil 9, 1st Impression, Part 2″ by Emerson, Lake & Palmer)