The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday May 31st

The Shit Hits The Fan; Who Cleans It Up?

Now say there is an efficient, well-respected janitor elected by a mandate of the masses to ensure the room's cleanliness. Let's call this hypothetical janitor Gudy Riuliani.

Unfortunately for the denizens of the soiled room, Gudy is contractually obligated to retire well before he'll have time to reupholster the sofa or give the fan's blades a good once-over.

Waiting in the wings, however, are several untested janitorial apprentices eager to accept the monumental challenge. But is it conceivable that they could disinfect with the grace and style of Gudy?

Will the room's occupants feel safe to lounge in a recliner without fearing projectile fecal matter? Should we shred Gudy's contract and permit him to retain his hygienic authority until enough crap has been shoveled off the floor that his successor can do his job barefoot? Or would that solution abandon the democratic processes that had kept the room spotless for centuries and simultaneously realize the pureed poop's intention of disrupting normalcy? Smaller pieces of dung have hit the wall in the past, but for the most part whoever held the mop at the moment rose to the responsibility invested in his position of authority.

So if Gudy allows his protege to watch over his shoulder until he resigns, the room's future can be secured without altering those principles that made America the haven for liberty it is today ... I mean the room, not America.

OK, I am actually going somewhere with this fictitious metaphor. And no it doesn't have anything to do with odd defecation rituals on South Campus and dormitory maintenance personnel's stoic diligence. Actually, I am hoping to draw a parallel with the mayoral election taking place in New York City.

At the center of the election is Rudolph Giuliani, the "Mayor of America." Although reporters granted Rudy this title due to his exemplary handling of the Sept. 11 debacle, I was hesitant to concede the respect tied to this nominal claim.

Don't get me wrong. The guy is great and handled the crisis exceptionally well. I have especially enjoyed his past skirt-wearing cameos on "Saturday Night Live." My reluctance to extol his actions, however, draws from cynicism, which tells me any person would have acted similarly.

But upon further thought I realized he was the city's perfect mouthpiece. His straightforward, tell-it-like-it-is persona does not waver in adversity's presence. Inhabitants of New York City find solace in this honesty. Furthermore, his hands-on approach shows his deep love for his city.

Despite the excellence he exhibited accruing federal disaster relief, welcoming foreign liaisons and quelling New Yorkers' fears, there is no need for Giuliani to bend laws and extend his stay in office.

The mayor recently expressed to the mayoral candidates a desire to remain in office an additional three months after his term ends January 1. Giuliani inferred that denying him this extension might result in his bid for a third term as mayor. Giuliani believes the term limits laws can be repealed to allow him to run.

There are three months remaining in Rudy's current term. If he cannot establish the implementation of clean-up protocol in that period, he doesn't deserve the crown and scepter accompanying his reign as "Mayor of America."

Fernando Ferrer, the only mayoral candidate openly against Giuliani's ultimatum, suggested Giuliani take a position with a fancy title like tsar or grand sultan and oversee clean-up efforts.

By delegating some power to Giuliani, the elected mayor would not forfeit choosing the speaker of the City Council, drawing up the city's budget in January or three months in office. Giuliani rejected this proposal, however, and seems determined to maintain the reins of power.

Democracies draw their strength from the masses, not exclusively from one individual. Instilling faith in our democratic ideals is synonymous with returning to normalcy without breaking laws created by the people.

To use another metaphor, it is perfectly fine to switch horses midstream as long as the horse isn't continuously dodging waste product being shot from a wall fan. Some horses might be stronger or more compassionate than others, but when democratically chosen by a well-informed public, the elected horse will surely pull its rider to safety.

Michael Carlton is dodging flying kaka (reader feedback) at

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