It's almost 0300, and here I am, unable to sleep. Figured I might as well just get up and write the post I was composing in my head as I was lying in bed wishing I hadn't had all that iced tea at the event I went to last night.

I watched some of the news coverage of the Jacksonville mayoral election Tuesday night, and I was especially interested to see what, if anything, Sheriff T.K. Waters had to say about Donna Deegan's election as mayor, given the brutal nature of the attack ad he made against her.

Unsurprisingly, he was asked at least twice by reporters at the Daniel Davis campaign wake.

He brushed it off, "That was just politics," and assured the reporters that he would be able to work with a Deegan administration to make a safer Jacksonville.

I don't think so.

I don't know how sophisticated Sheriff Waters is when it comes to politics and service in uniform in an important role. One that carries an enormous responsibility for public safety, and the concomitant authority, up to and including the state's monopoly on the use of violence to meet that responsibility.

Sure, he's an elected official, so he's been a candidate at least once, running against another career law enforcement officer for the job as sheriff. That's not the same thing as having a lot of experience in politics, and very little experience in the use of rhetoric as a public servant in an official capacity.

What I thought I heard when he very casually and confidently brushed aside any implied concerns in the reporters' questions was what I suspect Daniel Davis' political consultant, little Timmy Baker, told him as he persuaded him to make that attack ad, "It's just politics. Don't worry about it. She knows that. If she wins, she'll know you'll work with her."

Or words to that effect.

Something to make his political prop feel comfortable telling the citizens of Jacksonville, and his officers, that Donna Deegan will make them less safe.

Telling them that, in uniform, unambiguously, unequivocally, night after night after night, many times each night, that Donna Deegan will make them "less safe."

I wonder how many citizens, how many of his officers understand it was "just politics."

I wonder how many believed Sheriff Waters, and believe him still.

He's done nothing to repudiate his assertions in those ads. Just casually brushing them aside in a couple of news reports as, "just politics." I don't think all the people who believed him when they saw him, night after night, ad after ad, necessarily heard him in one news report, or understand what "just politics" means.

That's not to insult the intelligence of Davis' voters or his deputies.

When a person in uniform, the "color of authority," tells you something, you kind of want to believe it's true. You kind of want to believe you can trust their authority. And if those persons were predisposed to distrust Donna Deegan, if they harbored partisan doubts or prejudices to begin with, well, Sheriff Waters just confirmed those doubts, validated those prejudices.

Night after night, ad after ad.

Again, I don't know how much of this was little Timmy Baker's Machiavellian machinations swaying a novice politician, or how much was an ambitious political sheriff eagerly undermining a possible future opponent.

Donna Deegan has, with characteristic grace and generosity, brushed aside any concerns and said she'll work with Sheriff Waters to make Jacksonville more safe.

I have faith in Donna Deegan.

I have doubts about Sheriff Waters.

Originally posted at Notes From the Underground 02:58 Friday, 19 May 2023