When the Town Drunk Is Also Mayor

I remember going to historical sites like colonial Williamsburg or Fort Mackinack where they had actors in period costume playing different roles, from military commander, to housewife, to preacher and various craftsmen.  And there was inevitably a town criminal, usually in the stocks for doing something like drinking on the Sabbath.  I thought it was fascinating, I still do, and that may explain why I was as hard up for dates in high school as I was (among other reasons).

Well, at any rate, the Town Drunk, such as it were, is still with us today.  But not in the form of a vagabond being pilloried in the town square for gross indecency.  In the fair city of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, they elected their Town Drunk Mayor.  How innovative.

Apparently, this past Monday, Bob Ryan, Sheboygan mayor, was found to be the subject of a complaint call placed anonymously, claiming that he was a disturbance at a local bar.  In 2009, Mayor Ryan was featured on Youtube making raunchy comments about his sister-in-law while at another bar, and the HR director for the city of Sheboygan claimed he made unwanted sexual advances towards here, again in a bar.  Notice the recurring trend?  When Ryan misbehaves, it’s always when he’s out in public.  We’ve had lots of drunks as successful political leaders.  The thing about excess drinking and politics though, is that in order to be successful, you can’t do it too openly (like most anything fun).

My advice to Sheboygan: Don’t elect the Town Drunk to be your Mayor.  It’s entertaining, but it will eventually become problematic.  My advice to Ryan: stop getting plastered in public.  Drink where our committed alcoholics who are successful politicians have for years in safety: in your office or the confines of your home, not out at the local watering hole.  Unless your spouse hates you,  you’re not going to end up on Youtube that way.

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