On the virtues of Thad Altmans

On the virtues of Thad Altmans

Country actor Thad Altman and his ilk may not be flashy. But they got the job done. They focus on repairing potholes. They study systemic problems in infrastructure and society frankly – and the best way to stimulate growth for our economy. TThe mundane aspects of the so-called establishment politicians may not be as exciting as the Alexandrian Ocasio-Cortez and Lauren Poppert style of politics that opposes them—but they certainly cannot be described as anything but working horses.

The Thad Altmans of the world deserve credit for their quiet service. But the voices of pragmatism and problem-solving today fail to rise above the demagoguery of ideological politics.

What began in the Tea Party movement as a decent effort to rid the Republican Party of outdated political figures, ended in the complete and utter destruction of competence, order, expertise, and political intelligence. As early as 2014, the majority of members of the US House of Representatives were relatively newbies on the Republican side.

However, calls for a radical purge of so-called RINOs (Republicans in name only) have continued at their height, even nowadays. (Sure some in the Republican Party don’t fit in the modern age. Look no further than Liz Cheney. But this author might argue that there is a clear difference between challenging the moderates and challenging senior statesmen/women.)

A decade later, the Democratic Party is also going through its own transition from powerful and experienced political figures toward the more explosive and leading media figures that now dominate the Republican Party.

Domestically, this slot is occupied by Anna Escamani and Anthony Sabatini. Both politicians deal in a black and white world. Either you are for them or against them. You are either conservative or liberal. Any compromise or difference of opinion is impossible because the destruction of opponents trumps the public interest.

A hardline stance on immigration cannot coexist while also retaining liberal views of the economy in this world. Either it is one or the other. All or nothing.

Dick Bachelors can no longer Le Frieze From the world they sit with each other and discuss common interests or differences without denigrating their personalities. Today, not only does a difference of opinion or approach imply accusatory or insulting language, but such an attitude could cost the political candidate/incumbent their career and livelihood.

Senator Barry Goldwater, the great conservative predecessor to Ronald Reagan, once said that “extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.”

We agree. But even extreme opinions can be discussed with decency and decency. Something lacking in modern political debate. Can’t believe it? Look no further than the discussions that took place between Frances Fox Bevin and Thomas Sewell in the 1980s.

Ideologies on both sides render the political process irrelevant when each discussion is framed in the context of battle lines, either one side or the other, good or evil.

But as the late great Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “You have a right to have your own opinions, you have no right to know your own facts.”

Too many “political leaders” today not only summon the worst demons of our political beings, but fabricate their own truths.

It’s time to get back to basics and get back down to earth. Back to practical matters to solve problems and dispense with hot air.

Sponsoring a bill to promote removing mud from bridges in the India River Lake might not be as exciting as naming a highway after President Donald Trump, but you might be more willing to thank Thad Altman the next time you go to a clean beach (HB 2623).

Altman voters can also thank for not relying on septic tanks as many Lake County residents do.

What about the O Gale River Dam project that modernized Brevard County’s water infrastructure? (The list of bills and improvements brought about by Altman’s term in the legislature far exceeds what can be specified here. A full list can be found here.)

Few ideological sycophants attending local political meetings in Central Florida will take a moment to reflect on the significance of these projects. However, the arrogant voices of the few herald and overshadow the voices of reason.

It might not be as flashy as the newer models, but if the Thad Altman was a car, it’d probably be a reliable pick—not fancy, but it gets the job done, and better than most.

While some of the rising GOP stars are enjoying the rowdy sunshine, Altman works behind the scenes to run the trains.

It’s fun and games to talk about election audits and road names until infrastructure collapses and basic societal needs aren’t met.

So the next time you’re driving over a bridge that won’t collapse, swimming in pristine Florida waters, or drinking from the tap without getting sick, thank all Thad Altmans, past and present.

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