One of our anonymous readers passed this along to me just after I put up the previous note on Hegel. John Torinus says roughly the same thing in clearer, more immediately relevant English.
The real gangs that patrol
Negative bloggers, radio cost the GOP the state
By JOHN TORINUS
August 1, 2007I looked up the word "gang" to see what it means, and it’s not the same in the new blogosphere as elsewhere.
There are gangs in the "hood" and there was the "gang of four" in Communist China. I guess it’s the latter that the bloggers are alluding to when they talk about the "gang of five" on the West Bend Common Council.
From where most of us sit, five like-minded alderpersons out of eight seats spells a majority. In blogland, apparently, a "gang" means a group who disagrees with the blogviator. You take issue, and you become a gangster.
Now there’s a recipe for intelligent public debate. Essentially, it’s name-calling, fourth-grade stuff.
The latest "gang" crime by the majority on the council was to select as a replacement alderman a man who has been elected by citizens of the city to the
. County Board
He was chosen over a candidate who has never been elected, but volunteered his services.
Seems like a perfectly logical decision to go with a citizen who has a track record of public support versus a rookie.
The offer to serve by the volunteer should be much appreciated, but the majority has a right to use logic to make the call.
Majorities rule in a democracy. Making majority decisions is not gang behavior.
Besides, the minority of three on the council seems to be acting as much in concert as the majority of five (counting the mayor). That, by the same token, doesn’t make the minority a "gang of three."
It would be positive step for council dynamics, and therefore for the city, if the newly elected alderman could play a mediating role between the two factions.
And here’s some advice for the minority of three: if you want to get to a majority position, stop listening to the entertainers in the blog or talk radio space.
Following right wing pundits may make you feel righteous and filled with certitude, but it is a sure-fire ticket to being in the minority forever.
That’s what happened to the Republican Party in
. It started dancing to the drums of the nay-saying conservatives, the name-callers (think "rhinos") and it went in short order from control of the governor’s mansion and the Legislature to a minority in the Senate and on the outs in the governor’s job. Wisconsin
You can’t just be negative in politics and expect to win. You have to put forward positive alternatives. That goes for the Legislature or the common council.
Most voters don’t like candidates with a nasty tone to their rhetoric. They vote in general for candidates who show some respect for their opponents and for the system.
If the minority aldermen want to be in the majority, they need to make a positive case. Knocking the other side won’t get them there.
Some of the over-heated critics have suggested a recall of Alderman Mike Schlotfeldt on the blog sites. That’s an over-the-top reaction to a vote or two where the bloggers disagree with him.
Schlotfeldt is a hard-working, intelligent official and doesn’t deserve cheap shots.
If the bloggers don’t like where he’s at on the issues, run against him in a regular election. That’s how we resolve issues in most cases. Only extraordinary circumstances justify a recall.
Enough already with the divisive and disrespectful tactics. They remind me of a gang mugging in the political sense.
(John Torinus is chairman of the board of Serigraph, Inc. in