South Bend has had a few ups and down in the roller coaster of governmental representation over the past year. There have been people to be absolutely proud of and others that remind us that what we do online really translates to our real lives.
Regardless of situation, both the good and the bad have had me thinking about what it means to serve a community. When elected into a position, where is the bar set for our leaders?
We’ve had Henry Davis, Jr., of South Bend’s Common Council recently come under fire because of a…distasteful and offensive Facebook post. Davis Jr. is the 2nd District Council Member, and according to the South Bend Tribune, under investigation for his “controversial posting” after “eight complaints were filed with South bend police regarding Davis Jr. posting a crude photo of a man and a dog to his Facebook page on January 26.”
It has brought into question his work history, as well as his personal life.
When controversial opinions become public knowledge suddenly, and in such a public forum, what is the offending party to do?
David has been trying to do damage control, even though he took the post down quickly after it got negative feedback. But when slips happen, is it telling of the true character of the person in office?
The damage has already been done, it seems. In my mind, I’m not sure any amount of PR could bring him back from the bad press that has surfaced on him (though I’m sure that’s definitely a challenge for a firm somewhere).
It’s also true that the Mayor Pete Buttigieg has been called up for duty with the U.S. Naval Reserve to serve in Afghanistan and will be leaving in a few weeks and returning in September, according to Ted Land’s article on www.wsbt.com “South Bend Mayor says work to improve city will continue while he’s deployed.”
I feel like most are surprised that a mayor can be called up for duty, but it’s also something to be proud of: a Mayor that is going to serve his country. Buttigieg has maintained his approachable attitude, kept positive, gunned at a few goals and has stated that he intends to continue working towards his goals with the city while he is deployed.
In a time when Gallup polls show our Congress has a 13% approval rating, how do we move from here?
Those in office are usually there to stay for a while once they get there. I think public opinion is very important, as the approval rating has dipped so low in general, that those elected need to know who elected them in and what they really think of the job that they’re doing.
Technically, being in office should be some form of being a public servant, not a place of hierarchy.
So I ask again, where is the bar set for our public servants? How high a standard should they hit, and how big is the gap between those two goals?