Thursday, November 25, 2004

An Open Letter to "M"

Dear "M" (IF that is your real name),

In response to my posting entitled, "I Pity the Fool," you wrote:

"Please don't confuse name-calling and personal attacks with an intelligent discussion of policy differences or a reasoned analysis of current events,"

Given that the posting was in response to the most recent of a seemingly endless stream of editorials by Ken Neal and other of his opinionated peers at the Tulsa World, I was so pleased to see someone such as yourself so ready to take the World's columnists to task.

Ever since February 2nd, 2004, when in an opinion piece on the primary elections, the World writers opined, "In other races, incumbents Chris Medlock, District 2, and Sam Roop, District 5, handily won their Republican primaries. They face credible opponents in the March 9 general election. Medlock, a weak link on the council, faces former Councilor Darla Hall while Roop is opposed by retired police officer Andy Phillips," I've wondered if someone would rush to my defense.

Having just won the primary with nearly 80% of the vote, the voters rushed to my defense by giving me 59% of the vote against my "credible" opponent. That number was second only to Susan Neal's 90% that she received in her race against Paul Tay. Of course, Paul had to campaign from inside of the Oklahoma City jail, where he was being held for buzzing a pro-marriage rally on the Capitol steps.

Then there was the time back in September of this year, when Chamber chairman Bob Poe stood before the Tulsa Press Club (with me less than 20 feet away) and profoundly stated, "Mr. Medlock's jack-booted tactics went out of style in the 1940s." Some might have thought he was intimating that I was a fascist (even though I only own, to my knowledge, just one brown shirt). Mr. Poe also referred to my "minions" as the members of "Medlock's cabal."

His rhetoric so inspired the World editors that two days later they wrote,

"Poe, chairman of the Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce, said a voting bloc led by Councilor Chris Medlock, which has fought progress at every turn, is a 'cabal' and 'a cancer growing in the community.' "

I guess that the recall effort currently underway by Mr. Poe and his minions is the political equivalent of chemo-therapy. We'll just zap that nasty tumor before the cancer of the council goes into metastasis.

Or how about August 8th, when Ken Neal himself pontificated in a piece entiled "Wrecking Crew." Here's some of the pithier (apologies to Bill O'Reilly fans) comments Mr. Neal made in his "reasoned analysis:"
  • The "GANG OF FIVE" on the Tulsa City Council is dangerous.
  • "Three new members vote with two holdovers to make a majority of five on the council. They are like LITTLE BOYS PLAYING WITH MATCHES."
  • "...and nothing is too petty for the Roop and Medlock WRECKING COMPANY."

Mr. Neal also intimated that we had broken our word, were in a snit and or were irresponsible for transferring proposed CDBG funds away from programs favored by Councilors Neal and Baker so that we could give the money to programs favored by the council majority.

Of course all of this was mild compared to the editorial piece three days earlier entitled "Enough," and sub-titled, "Councilors continue WITCH HUNTS."

But the headlines were mere prelude for what was to come:

  • "The City Council's TROUBLE-MAKING FACTION is at it again or rather still at it, according to a recent news account." (This was actually the lead sentence.)
  • "What hasn't been said publicly is some of these same councilors, in private meetings, have committed some pretty OUTRAGEOUS acts themselves..."
  • "It sounds like what is needed is a brighter spotlight on the ANTICS of city councilors..."

Other words or phrases used to define us as part of their "intelligent discussion" were, "five-member rump caucus,"needlessly and shamelessly grilled," "witch hunt," and "contemptible."

But these two pieces were merely the bread that made up their opinion sandwich. The meaty stuff was still to come. On August 10th, just two scant days later, the World's editorial writers topped themselves. The headline was "Conflicts, Secrets." The sub-head was, "THE GANG OF FIVE RIDES AGAIN." Here's the best paragraph selected from some real doozies:

"With the GANG OF FIVE, aka the WRECKING CREW, at the wheel the process was elevated (?) to the level of a clutching, eye-poking, forehead-bonking THREE STOOGES COMEDY WITH A COUPLE OF EXTRA STOOGES. Or at least it would have been comical if city money and the city's reputation weren't at stake."

They also referred to, "THE MEDDLESOME MAJORITY," and "PARTNERS IN MISCHIEF." Oh yeah...they also intimated that my whispering into the ear of Councilor Roop was to remind him of "THE SCRIPT" rather than to give a more detailed explanation of something we were discussing earlier, so as to not hold up the meeting or disrupt the other's discussion.

So to your desire that I not confuse name-calling and personal attacks as a substitute for "an intelligent discussion of policy differences or a reasoned analysis of current events," all I can say is "Amen, Sister." Or is it "Amen, Brother?"

So tell "M" a family name?


ted said...

Well--I guess I hit a nerve.

If Ken Neal had a website, I'd probably tell him the same thing. Can you post a link (not to the World)?

I happen to think that the more persuasive argument is one that simply states facts, preferably in a coherent way so that a point can be made succinctly and persuasively. Name calling may be emotionally satisfying, but it is hardly convincing; moreover, it detracts from what may otherwise be a compelling argument.

"M" is a family name. Very intuitive of you.

ted said...

One other thought: Just 'cuz all other bloggers do it, doesn't make it right.