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.