Here we go: Shirtgate.
That’s what one of our staffers is calling the first flare-up in Lima’s mayoral race.
It’s a silly name for an even sillier controversy, one that shows you how heated and nit-picky this race will be the next five months.
Of course, that’s really not a new revelation. Everyone knew these two candidates were gong to slug it out, but to start this fight over a dress code, well, that one’s original.
Yet, here we are.
At the center of this political craziness are the shirts worn by challenger Keith Cheney’s camp during the Lima Memorial Day Parade. David Berger’s people cried foul, saying the Cheney shirts violated one of the rules — “no articles of clothing containing campaign messages” — set by the Allen County Veterans Council, which organized the parade.
What makes this silly:
•The shirts worn by supporters of both groups — not just Cheney’s — included phrases used in their campaigns. The Cheney shirts showed his name with the words “A Better Lima for All.” The Berger shirts said, “I (love) Lima, where Life is more abundant,” but did not use the mayor’s name.
•The Veterans Council checked out the entries of both groups prior to the parade and approved them, so why the fuss?
What wasn’t so silly were claims made by some Berger supporters that the Cheney camp was being disrespectful to military veterans. Let’s be clear: No one on either side disrespects veterans. To claim so is political posturing that is disrespectful in itself.
A suggestion for the future: If the Veterans Council is serious about keeping campaigning out of the Memorial Day Parade, it should forbid politicians from entering. The mere presence in the parade of a politician is an act of campaigning. Of course, such a ban would beg the question: Didn’t our veterans fight for our freedom of speech?
As for Shirtgate, let’s put it in the past. We can all agree there are bigger issues to discuss.
ROSES AND THORNS: A salute to the military in the rose garden this week.
Rose: To the family tradition of service academy grads and attendees in the John and Carol Desenberg family of Lima as well as the Jack and Marcia Clay family of Lima. The Desenberg’s daughter, Christine, married Brad Clay fresh out of West Point in 1988. Christine was a Lima Senior grad and Brad graduated from Shawnee. Their son, Caleb, is a third-year man at West Point currently and his younger sister, Mackenzie, begins at The Air Force Academy this month. Brad’s younger brother, Kyle Clay, was also a West Point graduate.
Rose: To Paul Long, who was elected to the Allen County Agricultural Hall of Fame. Long has been involved with the Allen County Fair since 1948, the fair board stated.
Rose: To Mike Leech, for his efforts in heading up the restoration project at the historic St. John Baptist Catholic Church in Glandorf.
Thorn: To Mitchell Dale Mullins, 41, of Rockford. He began stripping naked after Mercer County sheriff’s deputies stopped the vehicle he was driving. Mullins led deputies on a “slow speed” chase that never exceeded 15 mph and saw parts falling off his car.
PARTING SHOT: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.” — Groucho Marx
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.