Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Political Divisiveness

This was posted on FaceBook by the group that calls itself the "Coffee Party Movement." It's a response to the more well-known "Tea Party Movement" that is primarily composed of extreme right-wing folks that carry around Sarah Palin idols, or so it seems.  The group's vision is stated as follows:
  • Our Vision: Reason and civility in public affairs; A gov't of public servants accountable to the People; A People committed to the Common Good and Civic Virtue.  Here is a link to their website.
It says to me that we should be about good representative government.  There are problems that we should face together and not use issues to divide us.  We need to use the opportunity address our major societal issues by tapping the talents of all people, not just a select group and look out for the good of the "whole."  Special interests have taken over the debate in Washington and one can predict the vote on a particular item 50 miles out from the eventual outcome.  Here is one the Coffee Party group's recent status updates that immediately made be think of things the way they are in Lake Worth.
  • The politics of division, fear and hatred reduce participation in the democratic process because many of us want to avoid conflict and negative emotions. With reduced participation, we're vulnerable to extremists dominating our gov't and bullying the public. To counter extremism, we must commit to increasing participation and engaging the majority in the political process.
We have seen this strategy play-out with successes at the ballot box, but little real success where it counts - on the streets, in the neighborhoods or in the city's financial coffers.  It seems that the "ruling party" in Lake Worth can get elected through these methods, but has difficulty governing in a way that addresses the needs of most residents in Lake Worth, rather than the extreme ideologies of a few.  By disenfranchisement of voters and, I believe, making things so intolerably difficult and expensive to live in Lake Worth that many pull up stakes and move out, leads to more victories at election time.  But what is left behind is a wasteland of missed opportunities for a better community that embraces and benefits everyone, not just friends of those who live and visit N. C. Street.

The most recent example of this is the use of the Save Energy Workshops as a "ruse" and a campaign tool for Commissioner Cara Jennings and her political allies.  Let's say that you believe that all the "i's" were dotted and the "t's" crossed, that Commissioner Jennings' left-over campaign funds are being used to "educate the people" on the benefits of energy conservation and that everything is on the up-and-up and it is o.k. that another elected official that is up for re-election leads a "workshop" while gathering voter information (which I have a hard time believing and all information gathered at these events in terms of voter identification should be available to anyone who asks for it.)

The issue, CONSERVATION, is not one that should be politicized!  We all are about conserving our resources and as the headline on the paid-for flier proclaims "LOWER YOUR ELECTRIC BILL."  And those that ARE NOT INCLUDED in this "campaign" I know are FOR lower electric bills, rebates on energy saving appliances, alternative energy technologies, etc. Whether we need a special tax for this on our utility bill, which hit lower income groups the hardest is another matter, but this is not Cara Jennings' issue alone - this is OUR ISSUE.  This is an issue for EVERYONE on the DAIS.  

What Commissioner Cara Jennings' disciples want to plant in people's minds is that Cara is for the Environment - with a capital "E" - and that anyone against Commissioner Cara Jennings' is against the Environment, so how could you vote for anyone else other than Commissioner Cara Jennings? Don't be fooled, this group's main and probably only goal is TOTAL victory and I shudder to think what that might mean when it comes to pass.

This is the politics of divisiveness in action.  It may win elections but it destroys communities - especially the sense of "community" that we need to succeed as we attempt to face our challenges together.


Russ Hibbard said...

What's most impressive about this movement is how it started... almost as a comic counter to frustration with how media had legitimized some Tea Party absurdities. By turning straw-man arguments back on provocateurs, civil debate might just garner as much attention and highlight our common goals.

Well, that's the hope, anyway.

Genuine debate can't exist without consideration of an opposing view. And it's impossible when opinion is allowed to replace fact.

Anonymous said...

What it seems like is that Cara and her friends, like Peter, Lynn P., and Radam are all quite hateful to whites and gays. Even though Cara says she has a sister who is a lesbian, her and her friends like Radam have been quite hateful toward gay people in this city over the years by their actions. Cara is about chaos, lawlessnes, and anarchy, she just wants to upset the status quo of all, she does not want any type of gentrification or progress, so she allows and promotes human trafficking and drugs all over the city, the illegals run wild, drugs and prostitutes are all over, most of the illegals use both of them with the many whore houses all over D, E and F Streets around town. Cara, Peter, and Radam all like to be like modern day Jesus Christ's and Lynn P. like Mary Magdalene, they want people to believe that they do not judege or hate or that they are good people concerned about people, the environment and the world as a whole. Instead most have acted like Judas Iscareot and will turn on you in a minute. Cara has done many dishonest and unethical things since being in office, one day it will all catch up to her, it all seems to be now, she has lied to cover up her house loans, cheated the system, and has not served ALL of her constituents well, not even the ones she says, like the illegals, although it may look like she is helping the undocumented and the ones who entered illegally this country and city. As some have said in the past, we all must be leary of the politicians that use the E word to move up and gain power as a politician. Cara has been a perfect example of this. If she really cared enough to do what was right, she would stop the human trafficking and be a true advocate for the immigrants, not use them and exploit them as she has, allowing them to live now for over 4 years in deplorable unfit living conditions in this city. Cara is no different from Clemens, Varela, Maxwell, Lowe, or any of the other current or past commissioners. Don't be fooled by her E stuff. If she really cared about all people she would have acted much differently as our commissioner. She will never get my vote again.

Wes Blackman said...

Russ, truer works have never been said, "Genuine debate can't exist without consideration of an opposing view. And it's impossible when opinion is allowed to replace fact."

I have consistently maintain that the facts are the facts, if your not dealing with the facts and misrepresent them, which happens, then you are dealing with a reality that doesn't exist. What you are doing is using what people want to hear or what will motivate them to vote for your candidate or what will make them think negatively of your opponent - not deal with the realities that we have in the real world. Then your goal is not the betterment of the general condition - it is the attainment of power.

During my run last year, I pleaded for the need for HONEST debate which dealt with the facts, not opinions or falsehoods. Alas, the voting population in Lake Worth chose another path.

Russ Hibbard said...

Which is why you got our vote, Wes. Unfortunately, Lake Worth is just a microcosm of the current American political landscape.

It takes a lot to be heard through the din of reactionaries, which is sadly why American politics has gotten so contentious. An un-informed populace can be kept fearful, angry, maleable and actionable to the whim of whomever has the loudest bullhorn and most cash.

The Coffee Party if given enough popular media attention could change that. All it takes is for enough rational thinkers to commit to the idea that they will be excluded from the dialogue no longer. Much of the Tea Party's success is attributable to being profane and noisy. But countering in kind diminishes the power of facts. Write and call our representatives, the press, all media outlets to rebut in strong but well-founded opposition to the cranks whenever encountered. The squeaky wheels are becoming more annoying to a larger slice of Middle America than many realize.

Calm & rational will have it's day again.