Now We’re Getting Somewhere!

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Well, folks, we must be doing something right. We’ve been labeled alarmists and flame throwers this week! Woo hoo! Now you know we are finally getting somewhere. When we get to the point where we do not fear the fight and we stop endlessly discussing every detail (as if they are listening and considering our concerns), only then will we be able to make any headway. We are fighting for the soul of our town, we are not having tea with our girlfriends. The fact is that we are involved in a power struggle. Avoidance of conflict is the conservative’s downfall in that fight, and the other side counts on it. Sure enough, as soon as we engage, call them out, argue for what we believe in and back up our words with action, they start whining that we aren’t being nice, or in other words…”shut up”.

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Conservatives like to maintain a measured respectability. Unfortunatly, this holds us back from stating the truth boldly, and we attempt to avoid unpleasant labels such as “alarmist” and “flame thrower”. I’m thinking maybe we should, instead, relish those names as a badge of honor. We are taught at an early age to play by the rules… but in this game, the rules are concocted by the other side and work to their advantage, because they are only applied to us. The premise that we are good little girls and boys when we play by their dictates is wrong. They want to make the tone with which we speak the issue. Uh uh. All that does is direct attention away from the content of what’s being said. This character trait of playing the middle of the road and compromising so as not to offend or sound extreme bites us in the butt. When we care more about what people think than about speaking the truth and confronting what we know to be wrong, we weaken our position. This, it seems, is our kryptonite. So will we allow the other side to shut us up? They seem to think they can, and in fact, they seem to bank on it. Sadly, a good number of us oblige.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t vote for town commissioners hoping they would just “get along” either. I can watch a t-ball game where everybody gets on base and everybody gets a trophy if I want that. {yawn} I voted hoping to find someone who would stand for sound common sense principles, get the right things done and stop those things from getting done which are not beneficial to Lake Park. I voted in the hopes of making the street where I live in Lake Park a better place, not a neutral place.

That means a clash of ideas is inevitable. No, everybody can’t have their way. Often someone wins, someone loses. Compromise means everyone caves on something, and while it can be of value from time to time, it only works in certain situations. The rest of the time, be on the alert for what is really going on… a power struggle. If we are constantly losing ground and detrimental policies are continuing as the norm because we hold back in order to appear rational, fearing that we will sound negative if we speak out, and compromising in order to present a nice, reasonable front first and foremost, we will fail and those policies will continue.

Compliments from the Dais

Ever notice how the “rational” ones are applauded by the commission from the dais for playing nice? What’s that about? Those who point out telling truths about what is going on behind the scenes or question town spending and decisions are chided and belittled. This is behavior modification in action. We have become pavlov’s dogs. When they employ this tactic, what they are saying is: “shut up”. They are attempting to brand us and to train us to self-regulate (do what they want) through their system of praise and condemnation. They are conditioning us. As a result, in order to avoid an unpleasant, although false label, we will sit when we should stand, contain our passion and button our lips when we should be calling them out. This is a win for them. We must, instead, like they have, learn to override this conditioning.

Truth is, there are those who can dish it out, but they don’t take it very well, and what they shove down our throats is never the same medicine they are willing to swallow. When we get vocal and show our rightful emotion over the damage being done to ourselves and our town, the gloves come off and we are excoriated as big meanies. The battle will continue being waged whether we get up and participate or not. We do our cause no favors by playing into the peace-at-all-cost ruse. Passive shrinking back is no virtue. It is a far worse evil than raising your voice or getting angry. If we regularly self-regulate our speech in an attempt to appease or mearly to maintain our “good name”, the battle is lost. We might as well stay home and eat that bowl of ice cream while we mindlessly flip through channels because just about as much will be accomplished. As a result of our appeasement, those on the other side of the issues smile inside and forge ahead with their plans, all while we dutifully retreat.

Have you ever noticed though that they have no qualms about displaying their attitude, calling on their dramatic skills, calling names, employing underhanded tactics and using their mic to try and make others look small? Take Commissioner Rumsey’s speech at this past Wednesday’s meeting for instance…he has a flare for the dramatic, which makes him a personality which I find interesting and entertaining. From time to time, I even agree with him. When he speaks, I listen, particularly because of his style. He is memorable because with some regularity he employs his personality and “goes off” with passion. However, he goes off on citizens and fellow commissioners alike. Isn’t it interesting that those who come up and “tsk-tsk” the uncivility on the dais from time to time rarely seem concerned with his “speeches”. I find that notable. The double standard exists and flourishes. He goes “rogue” (by the definition they use on us) and gets no condemnation, yet he brands others who do the same with names meant to invoke a negative connotation upon them. His outbursts are met with the sound of crickets. Pay attention to this. It tells you that appearing nice and reasonable isn’t really all that important to them, it’s a tactic they use merely to keep YOU in check.

Look back. How many times did we sit in silence while the town manager bullied her way through meetings and said things we knew contradicted her previous statements, yet we watched certain commissioners and the mayor nod or vote in agreement. We often sat silent without so much as pulling a “Joe Wilson”? How many times have we wanted to stand and tell it like it is, but “propriety” has held us back from calling a lie, a lie. After all what would people think? Political Correctness is the product of a Marxist theory. Look it up. Their tool is making you a fool. We shouldn’t care what people think, because the truth is on the line. Yet caring about such things is in our conservative nature. It is a battle for us. They know this, so we must be on alert. Just remember, when wrongdoing is allowed to carry on unchallenged because of a cultural politeness mandate that trumps the evil that we are trying to overcome, we have a problem on our hands. We will reap the harvest of this over and over in the days to come if we do not get a handle on it.

How much sooner could we have rid ourselves of the Town Manager and her freewheeling spending and cronyism had we not been sitting on our hands with lips zipped like good little girls and boys, so as not to offend or sound harsh or disrupt the PC dictates of a progressive-directed meeting? The pressure to conform to their rules of engagement have left us with our trigger finger tied behind our backs as the looters make off with our town. The town manager was just one problem. There are many others. We need not stop in our efforts to right wrongs and restore the foundation of our town. They will attempt, as Mr. Rumsey and Mr. Stevens did at Wednesday’s meeting, to paint those who are vocal about these problems as flame throwers and alarmists for seeking to root out the rest of the problems. So be it; these problems need to be addressed.

I want to say a personal thank you to Jim Lloyd. Jim isn’t afraid to bring the truth to the table, or the lecturn, as it might be. He is one individual, among a few, who have taken a stand and taken quite a hit for so doing, even from those on “his side” because he knows what he believes and he is not afraid to say so. He “called” this Maria thing a long time ago. He spoke out with his own brand of personality and didn’t bend over backwards in an attempt not to “offend”, and many have heard and woken up, because, like Mr. Lloyd’s style or not, we have heard what he said and remember what he spoke out about. There are those who’ll say, “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar”, or “that kind of talk turns people off”, yes perhaps… but, folks if you are trying to win over “the flies” more than you are trying to get the truth out and right the wrongs, please reconsider your mission and the means by which you accomplish it. Flies will be flies. They have their own plans, and you are not changing their minds by trying to catch them with honey. They are gonna do what flies do. As long as you leave the door open, the flies are coming into the kitchen and they are still going after your dinner. Again note the tone of Mr. Lloyd’s “speeches” and “Mr. Rumsey’s”. Which one is publicly noted with regularity?

Face it, the rational ones who drone on in even tones with little passion or spunk are forgettable, and they numb us to what is really going on. If anyone was to learn anything from them, they would likely be dazed into forgetting by the time the speaker sits down. Cry foul if you want, but spunk and emotion are a part of our make up for a reason. Sure, there are times to sit down and shut up. There are times to use your inside voice, there are times to play your hand carefully and put your “angry eyes” away and smile while working behind the scenes, but the problem is, there are times we MUST call out town leadership, and by playing the game of “compromise” and “nice” too often, we set ourselves back in our efforts to win back our town. Name calling is not what I’m advocating here; speaking the truth is.

For too long many have sat quietly with glazed over eyes, saying what we think others want to hear, speaking in measured tones and censoring our words and our emotions and dodging the truth so we don’t appear as alarmists. Friends, alarms have an important purpose. If the building is on fire, we need to pull the alarm. The town has been smoldering inside for years, and the street where we live is in jeopardy. When there’s a fire to put out, we need brave souls to also rush to the scene and do the firefighting. There is no place for cowardice in a strong and vibrant community. No, we don’t want people pulling the alarm when there is no need, but if there are multiple fires, yes, multiple alarms must be pulled.

Face it, even when conservatives tell the truth by beating around the bush and playing Mr. Nice Guy, they are still told, “be nice”, “get along”, “you are an alarmist!” So why fall for that ploy? It doesn’t sit well with the other side when we take to the mic and speak out and actually fight back against those powers that are infringing upon our life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It hits a sore spot with progressives to see conservatives off their butts, in a meeting, speaking pointed truths and getting worked up about what they passionately believe in.

Back to Wednesday night’s speech by Commissioner Rumsey; it was interesting to hear him berate Ms. Longtin for succeeding in getting Maria Davis to leave, as if it was some “negative”, when it was he , himself, who asked Ms. Davis to resign. He even offered a dramatic speech about the town manager needing to “go” just a couple of meetings ago. How quickly we forget!  He went on Wednesday night, it appeared, to insinuate that Ms. Longtin was involved in some underhanded scheme by requesting the financial statements of certain commission members. Aren’t those documents submitted as a matter of public record when a person runs for public office, specifically to provide a level of transparency? Why then make it out to be some conspiracy if someone wants to view them? Again, misdirection.

Commissioner Stevens also went on the attack against Ms. Longtin and had the audacity to accuse her of being unprepared. Wow. Has he been in the same room? She doesn’t take the spoon fed diet placed before her, but seeks to make wise, informed and thoughtful choices, questioning when she finds things to be incongruous, and she’s the one who’s unprepared? Clearly the egos are getting a little inflated in this town. Apparently Commissioner Stevens and Commissioner Rumsey forget that we watch and remember all that goes on at these meetings. We see who does and doesn’t look into things, we hear who derides others with odd accusations (the equivalent of “shut up!) rather than merely stating facts and trying to get at the truth, and we keep tabs on how each one votes, as well as the characteristic views they hold.

They speak these things vocally in public and a response seems in order since residents have no such opportunity to rebut at the end of the meeting. We are not fooled by theatrical misdirection nor by their alter-ego attempts at playing and sounding nice from time to time. We are keeping track of the whole. Residents, those who are opposed to what you are trying to do in and for Lake Park aren’t listening to a NICE word YOU say. They want power. It’s that simple. When we play along and show overt concern with having a polite discussion, we are doing little but confirming to them that they indeed are gaining that power and that power has been wielded over you, as was evidenced at Wednesday night’s meeting.

But have no fear, when commissioners start calling residents names, we know we’re on the right track. I for one applaud their expressions of emotion and their willingness to speak from their personal perception of reality. I say, BRING IT ON. They are telling us who they are and what they believe. That is what we want, no? It is the greatest demonstration of transparency there is. I can only hope that they will continue to speak up and speak out with passion more often. I ask that they NOT shut up, but continue to SPEAK UP. Free speech and free expression all around! It’s the American way… or it used to be anyway. Let’s bring it back into vogue. No, they won’t like OUR speech because they are most likely not real interested in having the truth exposed. They are interested in power. Please remember that the next time you don’t want to state your concerns for fear of not sounding nice.

So all that to say…Great work, Lake Parkers! Take heed and take heart…we have successfully achieved something significant this week. We are finally getting somewhere. Wear the labels, “Alarmist” and “Flame thrower” and whatever else they concoct like a badge of honor. It assures us we are becoming effective. Now knuckle down, buckle down and forge ahead! And whatever you do, PLEASE… DO NOT SHUT UP!

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