Oliver the pig victim of politics?
Politics, we all know, is a nasty business.
Political history and the campaigns of the candidates in some of this country’s memorable elections are fascinating reads. Often, state and local politics can be just as interesting.
Such is the case of the pot-bellied pig named Oliver in the hamlet of Sledge, just north and west of Panola County.
The complainant is Verdella Crowder, a long-time Sledge resident, and the owner of the pig, which was recently banished from the town by the Mayor and the governing board.
Crowder believes Oliver is suffering the wrath of Mayor Julie Branch because she ran against the incumbent in last year’s town election.
Soon after the election, the Mayor pushed for an ordinance that would ban the keeping of farm animals inside the town’s limits. This is a common practice for towns who want to clean up their image. But, Crowder thinks the timing of the Mayor’s action is suspicious and maintains her pot-belly pig is a pet and not a farm animal.
Sledge covers 300 acres and has about 500 residents, but politics knows no size it seems. For the last three months this case has been the talk of the town, and Crowder has spent considerable time trying to get her pig back. She’s been to every board meeting and defended herself in Justice Court over the matter.
Mayor Branch is quite popular from all I can gather – she won with 85 percent of the vote. Folks seem to be generally pleased with the direction the town is headed, except for former candidate Crowder.
She told me this week all about Oliver and her fight against the system. Some editors write columns denouncing “pork barrel” spending. I get to write about “pot-bellied” pigs and also-rans.
Anyway, Crowder’s story isn’t much different than hundreds of others every election year, just on a smaller scale. She took on the system and got beat, and now finds herself the victim of (perceived) political retribution.
It happens all the time. There will be a particularly contentious political race and when the dust clears the loser finds himself, or herself, put in distress (economic or otherwise) by actions the winning side take to ostensibly punish the opposition candidate for their failed challenge.
Internationally, Russian President Vladimir Putin is very good at this. Cross him and he won’t bother with your pet, he sends the hangman. Well, usually not a hangman, he has lately been poisoning his enemies. Makes them suffer before dying I suppose.
And, of course, in the U.S. we have national, state, and even local politicians who seek to punish their opposers. It’s the nature of the business.
Crowder said the Mayor told her she had received complaints about the pig from neighbors. Not likely, the woman said, claiming the pet was kept indoors or in a small enclosure with plenty of hay and no mud.
“It ain’t no hog pen,” Crowder said. Besides, she added, the neighbor down the street keeps roosters and nobody has bothered him.
For now, Oliver is being kept outside the town by a family friend and Crowder visits often. She misses her companion and is angry at the city council, who voted 3-2 in favor of the motion. “One of the board members flipped on me at the last minute,” she said.
What’s the truth? Who knows.
Politics. It’s a nasty business for sure.