Trust me, it was a missed call by a referee in a close high school football game. But that’s not why I am telling you this story.
The call involved Sam Huffman, a very good high school football player and the son of Republican state Rep. Matt Huffman. On this play, Sam was straddling the sidelines when he leaped high into the air, snagged a pass and miraculously landed with both feet in play.
Unfortunately, the referee didn’t see it that way and called Sam out of bounds.
Sitting beside each other in the stands were Matt’s dad, Larry Sr., and younger brother Tom. Their two cents came quickly:
“The ref’s a Democrat,” Tom shouted.
“No, he’s a school superintendent,” Larry yelled, taking a jab at the school chiefs’ disdain for vouchers.
Few people are more Republican in Allen County than the Huffman family. They’re Republicans at the ball park, in the board room, at church and on the golf course.
Then we have the mayor of Lima, David Berger.
It would be hard to find a more staunch Democrat. Years ago, one of The Lima News’ more conservative editorial page editors, Stephen Greenhut, lived in the mayor’s neighborhood. When Greenhut left town to take a job in Southern California, Berger informed neighbors he had some great news and some even better news. The great news was that so-and-so was moving into the neighborhood. The even better news was they purchased Greenhut’s house.
So there you have it.
Matt the loyal Republican and Dave the dutiful Democrat.
And for the past couple of weeks, they have worked side-by-side, making sure Lima is putting on a good face for Gov. John Kasich’s State of the State address Tuesday.
Two politicians. Both leaders of their parties. Each working for a common cause.
Get out of here; that stuff doesn’t happen anymore.
Yet, it is not the first time the two have joined forces. Their cooperation goes as far back as 1999 when Huffman, then the president of City Council, joined Berger in supporting a tax levy needed by Lima City Schools to secure $108 million of state funds for new school buildings.
Not that these two have never disagreed. There have been plenty of disagreements. Yet, they also have a healthy respect for each other, one that’s quite refreshing given today’s new world of Democratic and Republican partisanship.
It makes you wonder why it is easier for politicians to work together on the local level than on the state or national level.
My guess is there is less talking between the two parties as people obtain higher office. They don’t get to know each other. Then, somewhere along the line, they begin to drink their party’s Kool-Aid by the gallons. They only talk with or listen to the people who voted them into office. The other side ceases to exist.
That’s when politicians start viewing the party line as more important than the general good. That’s when they begin loving the political fight more than problem solving.
After John Kasich is finished with his State of the State speech Tuesday night, let’s hope our lawmakers don’t suffer from tunnel vision but can engage in an open-minded conversation about what is best for the entire state.
Let’s hope they talk with each other.
Maybe that’s just a dream., but it’s a good dream to have.
The alternative has been a nightmare.
ROSES AND THORNS: A few this week.
Rose: James Patton, a 1989 graduate of Allen East, has been named the recruiting and special teams coordinator for the Indiana Hoosiers football team.
Rose: Lima’s 6th Ward saw a 19 percent drop in crime in 2012, compared to 2011 — the highest percentage drop in crime experienced in any of Lima’s seven wards.
Thorn: To Jesse J. Hardy, 52, of Lima, accused of leading Lima police officers and state troopers on a 100-mph chase.
Thorn: A preschooler was accidentally left on an Elida school bus after the driver failed to see him when parking the bus for the night. Fortunately, the child was discovered by another driver after 13 minutes of being left alone.
Thorn: One mistake — failure to yield — caused more than 37,000 traffic accidents in Ohio last year, making it the No. 1 cause for accidents in the state.
Thorn: So much for being truthful. John Marten, of Wapakoneta, admitted in court to breaking windows at the town’s Democratic headquarters. Then, months later, he sought to change his guilty plea after learning it may affect his status as a U.S. Marine.
PARTING SHOT: “It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.” — U.S.President Calvin Coolidge