Get with the program, Bexley.
For the past few weeks, Bexley City Councilman Tim Madison has been under scrutiny by his colleagues for behavior that has been described by witnesses as not befitting a public servant.
At a Nov. 27 meeting, Councilman Steve Keyes called Madison’s actions “bullying, harassing and menacing and intimidating.” Councilwoman Monique Lampke said, “I think incivility, shouting and swearing, and nasty insults and physical intimidation and following a resident really have no place in our city government.”
This is 2018, for heaven’s sake. Of course it has a place in city government!
If incivility, shouting and incessant mockery have a place in public debate from the White House to the Statehouse, they sure as shootin’ have a place in Bexley.
This club isn’t exclusive, Bexley. Come on in and join the fun. There’s always room for more.
Understandably, Bexley seemed a tad put out by the situation. It takes work, this snowballing movement to fling aside your common decency and instead hurl bile at anyone with whom your interests are even slightly at odds.
A highlight reel from 2018 shows Bexley City Council how it is done. Pull up a chair:
• Jan. 30: A meeting of the Ohio Senate Government Oversight Committee takes a nasty turn when Chairman Bill Coley, R-Mason, badgers Mia Lewis, a supporter of a particular congressional redistricting plan.
After Coley persisted, and at one point cut her off, Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman, chastised him, saying, “You’re yelling at the witness and you’re laughing at the witness. That is not how this is supposed to work.”
“I sometimes laugh when I find things humorous,” Coley said. “That’s OK. I understand you may be different.”
Coley apologized to Lewis after the hearing, then resumed arguing with her.
• Aug. 3: Really, there are too many of these from which to choose. This time, President Donald Trump tweeted, “LeBron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made LeBron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!”
• Oct. 18: Trump again, at a rally for U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, a Republican running for re-election in Montana who pleaded guilty to assaulting a journalist a year earlier.
“Any guy who can do a body slam, he is my type!” the president said.
• Nov. 27: During a debate in the Illinois House, Democratic Rep. Stephanie Kifowit said she would like to infect the water supply of a GOP colleague’s loved ones with “a broth of Legionella.”
This is how America rolls.
Trying to prove otherwise are U.S. Reps. Steve Stivers and Joyce Beatty, central Ohio legislators from opposite sides of the aisle who this year formed the Congressional Civility and Respect Caucus, which they hope will bring about a more civil discourse.
“I believe that we have an excellent model of bipartisanship, civility and respect that Congress and the rest of the country could learn from,” Stivers said in announcing formation of the caucus. “This is about more than just a caucus, this about creating a movement to show you can disagree without being disagreeable in government.”
It is a quaint notion.
In Bexley, Madison issued a mea culpa Tuesday night, acknowledging that confronting and dressing down a resident with whom he disagreed was “inappropriate and could have an unintentional consequence of chilling resident participation at council.”
“For that I apologize to City Council, the city of Bexley and Bexley residents,” he said.
An apology? For a while there he showed promise, but it looks like the guy has no future in politics.