In Your Opinion: Township Democrats Must Oust Prasad

By Mark Grieco, Somerset.

For those busy sharpening their pitchforks in preparation for the Great Hunt for the Emboldened Trumpists Who Don’t Want “Colored” Statues, let me go out on a limb and tell you that particular corner of the fevered Trump Universe is probably a figment of an equally fevered Democratic mind possessed by Councilman Rajiv Prasad. To be sure, there are those who question the location, the need, the process, and the selection of persons to be honored in statuary in the proposed Franklin Peace and Nonviolence Park. They have legitimate concerns, but I suspect the assertion by Prasad that a Trump-inspired plot is behind the park’s opposition smacks of the Q Anon conspiracy drivel swallowed whole by the dimmest of the dim in the Trump cult. Then again, I could be wrong, but when challenged by the township’s Republican Chairman at the September 13th Council meeting to produce evidence of these conspiratorial Trumpists, a long awkward silence by Prasad was followed by a whole lot of nothing in the way of proof. It’s been a week since that meeting, and Prasad has still not produced evidence.

For those who remember the Prasad-inspired Great Hunt for the Nazi Skinheads Who Don’t Want Catalpa Park, this should have been deja vu all over again. Then there was the Great Hunt for the Republicans Suppressing the Black and Asian Vote. Or go back further to when Prasad asserted the township would save $200,000 a year by dumping its own Health Department in favor of a contract with the County Health Department. Like the Emboldened Trumpists, the Nazi Skinheads, and the Vote Suppressors, the annual 200 grand is, to borrow a phrase from my old Appalachian-born sergeant, “about as scarce as hen’s teeth.” It is like the “alternate facts” Trump likes to tweet about; they don’t exist in the real world of real facts. In fact, I’d say Trump and Prasad share a lot in common.

Both Trump and Prasad make stuff up, but the free press, which both men hate, does its job and shines a light on their fabrications. No matter, both men keep churning out crapola and bluster mightily when caught. At the September 13th Council meeting the public was bludgeoned by a bellowing Prasad with the linchpin of his defense: a 2007 council resolution saying how much the council would love a Peace Park. But as the township attorney pointed out, resolutions have a lifespan of one year, so Prasad’s stale defense expired around the end of George W. Bush’s second term. While Trump has his wall, Prasad has his park. Rather than making us feel safe or peaceful as intended, both projects have only divided us and aggravated the hell out of everybody. But by far the greatest similarity between the two is the total lack of respect for the democratic process. Trump’s transgressions in less than two years are too many to enumerate. Prasad, albeit working in a more restricted sphere, mostly has the Peace Park fiasco to show for his years of labor. However, if the Democratically controlled township council has its way, he will have more time to improve his record.

The Democrats on the township council have provided the counterpart to the Republicans in Washington; both have not shown the required backbone to protect the public from someone in their own party. Councilman Chase and to a lesser extent Mayor Kramer are the exceptions. The other seven council members are the reason people like me have long distrusted the Regular Democratic Party. When the behavior of one of their own becomes outrageous, the Democratic apparatchiks, like the Republicans in DC, meekly go along and leave the public to fend for itself. Ironically, the Trump-like behavior of Prasad and the timidity of local Democrats plays right into the Trump narrative of Democrats turning a blind eye towards swampy behavior from a fellow Democrat.

I am committed to resisting Trump, so the ridiculous behavior of a handful of Franklin Democrats will not stop me from voting Blue in the critical congressional race this November. What I resent is that while the nation faces one of its most difficult periods in its history, the local Democratic party has handed the real Trump supporters a validation of their propaganda, a needless distraction from the important job of resisting Trump, and a reason for fence sitters to pause while in the voting booth this November. Ultimately, that might not make a difference in the 12th Congressional District where the Democratic candidate is a heavy favorite. But if Prasad is allowed to continue to run amok, it will make a difference in local races next year and may already be affecting this year’s Freeholder race. Next year, local candidates will not be running with congressional candidates on the ballot, and voters like me will be free to vote their conscious without the fear of harming the fight against Trump. I don’t want to make all this seem like a plug for the Walk-Away claptrap, but I am putting the Democrats on notice that after November they don’t have a lock on either my vote or my keyboard until they take steps to remove Prasad from office. Yes Councilman Prasad, there are many like me in the township. And that is not a figment of your fertile imagination.


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