CONSIDER THIS: The Sound of Silence

By MICHAEL RODRIGUEZ
Managing Editor
editor@sbnewspaper.com

Michael Rodriguez

Michael Rodriguez

Candidates vying for elected office may not know it yet, but they’re already responsible for answering to the public regarding all concerns shared within the community. If campaigning for an opportunity to serve as a voice for the people, after all, then one must be vocal. Some may argue otherwise, but it’s illogical to trust politicians with a vote if they cannot be trusted to be forthright. In the alternative, an abashed hesitance or an outright unwillingness to address all that concerns the community are considered unequivocal indications of mute leadership.

Granted, when a candidate is approached for comment about a sensitive matter, perhaps one which they’re legally restricted from sharing details, practicing restraint is likely the most suggested course of action from all who have the hopeful’s ear. Candidates who are incumbents running for reelection are arguably in greater jeopardy of revealing that in which they’re legally-barred from disclosing, obviously since they’re privy to much more than the challengers.

Take into consideration last year’s suspension and subsequent investigation into San Benito CISD suspended Superintendent of Schools Antonio G. Limón. Imagine the reluctance school district candidates exhibited when asked for their thoughts on the highly-publicized probe that remains ongoing nearly eight months after its launch. It’s an investigation that has already cost the school district more than $20,000 in legal expenses, not to mention costs associated with employing two interim superintendents and continuing to compensate Limón his annual salary of $165,303 while he remains on paid leave. Consider further that when the investigation is complete, Limón’s suspension may cost the district hundreds of thousands of dollars. Being that the superintendent is not yet in handcuffs, it’s also likely that the findings may not justify the expense.

With so much at stake and blame likely to be placed on one and all, it’s no wonder some candidates have declined to comment on the Limón case. But nobody said running for public office would be easy.

Throwing one’s hat in the political ring does not alleviate responsibility but elevates it, and there’s no more irresponsible act than to remain silent while Rome burns. I think I’d prefer that they at least play the fiddle.

It’s incumbent upon candidates to offer what their ideas of resolve are especially in the most controversial and scandalous of situations. Equally crucial is to not mistake silence for caution, and to understand that hesitance brought on by fear of knowing what not to say is also a poor excuse for a lack of candor – something to remember when asking the public for its trust.

Consider this: If a candidate is incapable of expressing their concern, praise or indifference about the Limón investigation to reporters, how are voters then expected to know what they’re voting for when casting their ballots? Someone who’s been married for 20 years, whose children attend local schools, whose civic involvements are plentiful and whose campaign signs are the most colorful is not necessarily a good leader for these reasons.

Political hopefuls are known for their names, their families and their appearances – all of which are superficial identifications. Understanding as much, and speaking directly to the candidates now, I’d like to ask all of you to identify yourselves by something other than how many relatives you have, what names you go by or how many signs you have plastered all over the city. Identify yourselves instead by sharing your honest impressions of all that has tainted San Benito’s reputation and damaged its ability to grow; only then will you be entrusted to repair the city’s framework, and more importantly its integrity.

I’m rooting for you.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.sbnewspaper.com/2014/04/18/consider-this-the-sound-of-silence/

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