Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The New Anger Movement

People have remarkable memories. Some memories and bitterness linger on for generations. Armenians to this day have strong dislike and or hate for the Turks. There have been factions in the Arab world who have a thousand plus years of hating their neighbors. The Jews have been the whipping post for generational hate as well. The French and the English have been at odds for years.

Closer to home, though World War II has been over sixty years, I still occasionally hear anti Japanese or German sentiment from Americans. Though slavery ended over a hundred and fifty years ago, there is still a residual bad feelings not only from relatives of the slaves that are six or seven generations removed from those horrors, but also from the relatives that are six or seven generations removed from the confederacy. The confederate flag is still flown with pride in many southern states in a pissed off defiance.

There is a generation who are still bitter that George Bush was appointed President by the Supreme Court, and they are bitter that he won the election four years later. There are people still bitter about Richard Nixon.

People carry the hurts and the scars of their childhood right up until the day they die. We carry anger for things that have happened to our families, friends and neighbors. Yet we wonder why election losers remain bitter. Every body is pissed off and it doesn’t go away when an election is over. Professional politicians say that they are able to shake it off and accept their loss, but somehow I think those polite days of politics are long over. Fanatical supporters carry the torch using the Internet as a weapon of slander and defamation. Failed campaigns take on a life of their own with the monsters that reside within the faithful. “Game over / move on” is a lost concept and has been replaced by spite, revenge and ill will that is sometimes carried to the grave.

This new unforgiving nature calls like a crow for a new field of psychology; political anger management psychological therapy. There are so many who are in need of this therapy. A key to the therapy would be to get the opposition to better understand any possible benefits of opposing proposals. One doesn’t need to embrace the concepts, but they should use reasoning to see that the concepts will do some good somewhere down the line as they were envisioned.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Polarization of a Community: Us vs Them

As one watches the destruction of one’s community the need to know who is at the core of it materializes. Who is it pulling the strings that is triggering this to all happen? Who benefits the most to have an elected official thrown out of office? Who benefits from public humiliation? Who benefits from the hatred dripping from once kind mouths that shriek at those who oppose their viewpoint? Who stands to benefit from spreading lies that someone’s a crook, someone else a thief, another corrupt? Who does their best work with lies, innuendo and gossip?

The process called polarization causes neutral parties to take sides in a conflict. Individuals on either side of the conflict take increasingly extreme positions that are more and more opposed to each other. As parties move toward these opposite "poles," they define themselves in terms of their opposition to a common enemy. Slowly at first and then more rapidly "distorted perceptions and simplified stereotypes emerge" while trust and respect diminish. Parties refuse to negotiate and assume more rigid positions.

Polarization is caused by a number of related psychological, sociological, and political processes. Damaging the relationship between the adversaries, as conflict escalates, is the emergence of enemy images and stereotypes. Important lines of communication and interaction that are normal to peaceful relationships are cut off, and trust diminishes. The more each party involved attributes their grievances to the other side, they more often they likely to reduce the number of non-conflictual relations and interactions that they have with the other party.

Adversaries become increasingly isolated from each other, and all inter-group communication is channeled through more antagonistic lenses. As the parties begin to have fewer and fewer ties to individuals from the other group, they begin to feel freer to employ more severe actions against that group. There is a tendency of the participants to “win” the bystanders to their side, often forcing people to chose with the "with us or against us" mentality, aggravating group isolation and polarization. The conflict intensifies as more people are drawn into the conflict.

Those who would normally urge moderation and attempt to mediate the conflict are recruited by participants in the controversy, and forced to take sides. The moderate position is not tolerated with their proponents ostracized at best, or seen as traitors to the cause at worst. Further segregation, as the process continues, results in relationships with outsiders becoming increasingly hostile and competitive.

The polarization of this community is heart wrenching. Watching once good friends turn their backs on one another, families raked over the coals, and people's reputations destroyed is more than a community should stand for. Smart, intelligent people allowing themselves to be led, to be pulled apart and destroy their own community. Who will be left standing? That’s what we should be asking ourselves.

Monday, March 3, 2008

What If?

What happens if they get their way?

Let us consider what will happen if CCFOG gets a toe hold in local politics. Let’s say they successfully unseat Richard Lee. They will demand and probably get someone to replace him who may appear moderate on the surface, but will pupate into a Commissioner they desire. They will then pursue removing Ann Samuelson, which they (CCFOG Members) have already started trying to remove her from the School Board in Jewell, thus tarnishing her accomplishments. Not that any accusations of any wrong doing have any basis in reality. It is a propaganda war where the first shot is often the one that is noticed most.

Riding this wave, momentum builds for Burr Allegaert, a major contributor to measure 4-123 and a member of CCFOG, who is running against Patricia Roberts in District 2. Candidate Dirk Rohne, known for a Josh supporter gets a bump in Knappa. After they take down Samuelson the finally go after Hazen.

This is the way it is mapped out, but they will accomplish what they want with a simple three to five majority on the Board. What happens next is that the stipend will be restored to Josh. Though his workload has dropped he will get more staff to not handle what they already don’t have. It will be a good day for the County Police as well.

Next, Scott Derickson will made very uncomfortable and he will probably be forced to seek employment else where. Though the BOCC is not an agency that should regulate or impede business they will throw up road blocks to stop all aspects of the LNG industry, which will land them in major trouble with the federal government and will be brought to court by the LNG industry, ending up wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal battles that they can not possibly win.

The planning department can continue making up their own policies on a whim and serve or not serve anyone they wish. If you hope for approval there will be a line for you to wait in to kiss the ring.

Joe Gamm will be given a courtesy office in the 800 Exchange Building and exclusive rights to the news. Forrester will be able to print anything he wants. If it's not true, he can make it true with a few phone calls. The people will be lulled into a false sense of security because the Daily Astorian will tell everyone that everything is OK.

The BOCC will once again enter the dark ages it was in under the Westbrook administration where the public had little say and little time in which to say it. Questions were never addressed and citizen concerns were ignored as per instructions of Blair Henningsgard the then council. You will hear the name Baghwaddi Podar again. A FOG of bitterness, revenge and retaliation will come over the county until the voters return to their senses in future elections.

This recall campaign is unreasonable and unacceptable. The charges against Lee are made by a group who has been out for Lees blood for a long time. Lee has not been charged or even investigated for any crime, though one of two people with the capability in the county did ask the DOJ to investigate and the Sheriff stated that he didn't do it.

There is a black hole at the center of these unreasonable spiral arms of this recall campaign. The spiral arms need to be careful not to be sucked into this black hole because if they ever want to be taken seriously in this county again, distance should be gained, quickly.