ON THE AVENUES: Tender mercies, or why Democratic Party luminaries didn’t want to be seen at the “Protect Hoosiers from Hate” rally.


Sunday’s rally for an inclusive hate crimes bill took place at Bicentennial Park in the heart of New Albany. We had to scoot home a few minutes before the conclusion, but I can safely say the event was impeccably organized by Indiana Forward and Southern Indiana Pride.

The roster of speakers was balanced in every way one might imagine, and comments were kept brief and incisive. The one-week weather delay may have slowed momentum in terms of the rally’s overall turnout, but my guess is all those choosing to be involved deemed it a great success. I agree.

In the aftermath of the rally there have been several comments made about the spirit of bipartisanship on display. Broadly speaking, this seemed to be the case, although with a sprinkling of nuance. In New Gahania, things aren’t always what they seem, and when everyone’s carrying a hammer, nuance has all the appearance of a nail.

Progressives will disagree, but in New Albany it cannot be denied that Republicans have taken the initiative on an inclusive hate crimes bill and similar issues such as the refurbishment of New Albany’s Human Rights Commission. Bravo to them.

Ranking Floyd County Republicans in attendance on Sunday included Ed Clere, Al Knable, Mark Seabrook and Scott Stewart. Other city council members in attendance apart from Knable were David Barksdale (R-Inanimate Objects), Bob Caesar (D-2nd) and Matt Nash (D-5th). Municipal candidates from both parties were there, too.

Interestingly, while local Republicans turned out their best and brightest, the Floyd Democratic Party’s upper echelons were noteworthy only by their glaring absence. This should come as no surprise. Jeff Gahan, Adam Dickey, Warren Nash, $hane Gibson – well, these aren’t the sort of conniving backroom functionaries who play well with others.

After all, the clique abides.

I searched the crowd in vain for those reliable yearly Gahan campaign finance donors, for whom checkbook calculations truly must be a lonely, anti-social, narcissistic endeavor. Alas, no Dowell, no Ginkins, no Neace. Couldn’t they at least pretend it isn’t all about the money?

The galling reality about Sunday is that had the egotistical local Democratic hierarchy attended, they’d have been compelled to share the limelight with Republicans, who in the main have been more progressive than the local Democratic drain trust as it pertains to matters like human rights and freedoms.

As I’ve been pointing out since the Pleistocene, the behavior of local Democrats in an institutional sense reflects an unofficial but very real tactic of “bait and switch.”

“Bait and switch is a sales tactic that tricks consumers into buying something other than an advertised item.”

Gahan, Dickey, Nash, Gibson and their chief operatives cultivate a crafted image of heartfelt concern for victims of discrimination and the downtrodden, as though to make common cause with the sort of social justice issues commonly identified with the Democratic Party nationally. They even pay occasional bored lip service to the classic Democratic Party platform’s support for workers and advocacy for the economically disadvantaged.

It’s what they say, but not what they do.

The purely Clintonite party chairman Dickey, who has seldom glimpsed a larger World removed from Disney, only mouths platitudes and mimics the national party’s eagerness to tenderly stroke the very same oligarchic economic concentration that has kept America’s downtrodden perpetually disadvantaged.

In return for talking a good game about social justice and the empowerment of a better local economy, our Floyd County Democratic Party is thus freed to enthusiastically buttress its own New Albany-based pay-to-play political patronage system.

(Albeit only within city limits, seeing as the remainder of Floyd County lying outside New Gahania has been lost to the “other” side, and now functions in the role George Orwell reserved for Eurasia and Eastasia. In short, GOP control outside the city is the “enemy” justifying vigilance and periodic ProMedia propaganda attacks … at taxpayer expense.)

Given that veneer is “a thin decorative covering of fine wood applied to a coarser wood or other material,” it turns out that Gahan’s only real political skill is an ability to suck wads of bulky cash through a garden hose, hoovering money from individuals and companies doing business with the city, and wetting his beak from the millions of tax dollars required to erect bright shiny objects we don’t really need, all the while making them look as uniformly dull as those Formica countertops HWC Engineering grew up idolizing.

Small wonder Ed Jolliffe has funneled so much cash to Gahan. Evidently they bonded over Bud Light Mang-O-Rita and a shared fondness for suburban plastic shrubbery clustered around Ikea tumescence.

I’m digressing a wee bit, so let’s return to the point.

Each day between now and the November election we’ll be seeing Gahan’s face on something. For quite some time it has been seen on Kroger shopping carts.

Every last piece of taxpayer-funded city advertising in magazines and newspapers bears Gahan’s airbrushed cherubic image, usually ludicrously outdated. It amounts to branding the city of New Albany with one man’s face.

Personality cults rely for nourishment on a repetitive insistence that nothing of value or substance can happen without a blessed great leader’s intuitive impetus and inspired guidance. Gahan has grasped this and harnessed it to the full weight of taxpayer-funded public interest announcements, with the prerequisite that all such blurbs credit him.

As such, it’s meaningless propaganda, although in the present era of fake facts, there is a patina of normality — the more exaggerated, the better.

Obviously when it comes to self-aggrandizement Gahan’s gone full frontal Ceausescu – but he couldn’t be bothered to attend Sunday’s rally for an inclusive hate crimes bill, and neither could the cream of his stunted political crop.

To repeat, this wasn’t unexpected.

It’s the same Gahan who enabled a Human Rights Commission for maximum propaganda value, drowned it in a vat of Kool-Aid, smothered it with a souvenir Visit Rock City pillow, and put it completely out of his mind.

Did human rights make a donation this year, Warren? They’d best get on it if they expect a ribbon cutting.

Then one day as Gahan was endorsing huge campaign contributions from Clark Dietz PAC, Faegre Baker Daniels and Beam, Longest & Neff, he became vaguely aware that Knable, a detested Republican, was taking the lead to restore the HRC.

Damn these people with principles!

Caught with his trousers down and unable to squirm out of making two appointments to an entity Gahan had euthanized, now being resuscitated by a deadly political foe, Hizzoner showed THEM, all right: he selected two old white guys, giggled, and returned to his bank vault for quality time alone with his money.

Me being the kind of guy who wants to believe the best in people, at Sunday’s rally I took two postcards for mailing to Indianapolis in support of meaningful hate crimes legislation. On one of them I used our home address. On the other I inscribed Gahan’s, as copied from his most recent CFA-4 campaign finance form.

You know, just in case he forgot.

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February 26: ON THE AVENUES: Pretty in pink slips, aren’t they? Those who mutilated Speck need to be cashiered.

February 22: ON THE AVENUES SPECIAL: Take your cult of personality and shove it, Dear Leader.

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