(see also our earlier article: The College Station recall petition is about ethics.)
The May 10th page of The Eagle’s letter to the editor/opinion page offers considerable insight into the use of faction politics. As we learned in our reading of Madison’s Federalist #10, a faction consists of
“…a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.“
The fact that each member of the community is a unique individual ensures that factions exist in every group, from pilgrim saints down to unrepentant sinners. In classical republicanism/traditional enlightenment it is an understood principle that civil society is best served and preserved when citizens rise above their personal self interest in pursuit of ideals revealed over the course of history to better serve civil society for the long term. This need is particularly necessary in elected officials.
So, let us look at the charges of those against recall.
“The recall is undemocratic”
Which faction better serves the long term goal of civil society? If an unchecked elected official is the foundation of tyranny and oppression then a fact based recall effort is the stuff of liberty. Otherwise, campaign planks and promises become meaningless rhetoric when upon achieving elected office the politician then rules according to their own will and passions. Without recourse, the term of office becomes a period of despotic rule rather than the intended term of representational service to the citizens. The Citizens For Recall have presented their facts and then collected enough signatures of voting members of the community to exercise the recall motion. The Citizens For Recall are modeling the highest form of democratic process by applying checks and balances to impede their elected officials from pursuing adverse actions to the civil rights of members of the community and even those of another community.
The charge that the recall is undemocratic is without merit.
“The City Council members are pursuing what they think is right for the community”
This argument requires voting citizens to curb their criticism of city council members, presuming that citizens’ opinion of what is right for the community is not equal to those of their elected representatives. Such an argument flies in the face of the fundamental principle of self-government—the equality of all men as created by God. It smacks of the very elitism that has so angered Citizens For Recall.
That this defense comes without a cogent explanation of why what these elected representatives think is in fact better for the future of the community is again evidence of elitism. Without clarification of our elected representatives’ ideas, how do we ascertain whether these ideas ARE right for the community?
Consider also the three major news media’s opinion of the questioning citizens. Those asking for democratic recourse were ridiculed to the point that a duly elected member of the city council felt it better to not seek re-election. Is this the stuff of Liberty and freewill choice, or of faction gone wild politics? It should be noted that each local news media have chosen to support faction over objective news coverage, and against those odds the Citizens For Recall have remained strong. However, a certain tone-deafness to the cultural signs of the times has infected those under the delusion that their thoughts about what’s right for our community should go unquestioned.
Only the clueless or the self-serving are oblivious to growing public disapproval with overreaching elected officials. Those attributes are not the stuff of leadership in elective office.
The fact is, conflict is not in itself as bad as shunning it and allowing bad ideas to flourish
However, electing individuals with the exact same mindset that has so angered a large number of voting citizens will only continue the “mess” a conflict-averse citizen doesn’t want to hear or make a decision on. There’s not a lot of dissent in despotism. Just because a classroom is quiet, doesn’t mean there is learning going on. Better the raucous rowdiness of freedom and discussion, than the pseudo civility of factions without checks and balances. Having elected representatives of differing opinions is the best check and balance against the unbridled passions of factions and tyrants.
A vote for Hal Hawkins, Arthur Pinto, and Shawn Rhodes is a vote for checks and balances to a city council proven to be not only lacking in self-control, but despotically backed by an intellectually lazy, ideologically rather than service driven, non-objective local media. Due to local media malfeasance in regards to these charges, this upcoming election has become a referendum on the very right of dissent.
A vote for Hal Hawkins, Arthur Pinto, and Shawn Rhodes is in fact a vote to support your last defense against totalitarianism. This is your God-given right to dissent.
Finally, proof positive College Station City Council members have lost touch with reality
There is the old saying in politics, that when your opponent is on a course of self-destruction—best step out of the way. The demagogic shrieking of a real live elected member of the sitting city council is proof positive that checks and balances are in the best interest of an appreciating community. If this is an example of the type of mind voters are asked to trust to have the best interest of the city, I rest my case. How dare anyone dissent from the ideas of Dennis Maloney! In the past, I have often recommended “politician rehab” for my dear friend, but once you grow a taste for determining the lives of others, political relapse is as certain as a Lindsey Lohan court appearance.
Having the power to flake, shape, and bake your community in your own image is a powerful aphrodisiac, and it takes a strong mind to resist it. But once such an individual starts giving other people a piece of that mind, often there’s not much logic left.
Like others before him, Maloney cannot imagine that anyone could find living in HIS idea of utopia to be confining and restrictive. A community is not the infrastructure, it is the people that live here and their ability to amiably accept differences of opinion, agree on fundamentals regarding morality with compassion, and to live without having one’s conscience violated if not breaking the rule of law. Maloney’s ranting is the source of the final option that faces all Progressives because they are more interested in their ideas than in serving real people.
Those of us that have the stamina to resist adherence to liberal/progressive group-think are publicly censored, suspect of crimes against humanity, and subject to all forms of demagoguery. After reading Maloney’s letter, can anyone refute the charges that this sitting city council has acted high-handed or dismissive of the complaints of citizens pleading their case before them, or as Madison wrote of factions: “united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community”? The letter presents a man more interested in his kingdom than in the actual subjects with the effrontery, or misfortune, to reside there.
That our local news media have staked their financial business plan to support such thinking is a gross violation of public trust and an affront to the privilege given them by our Constitution.