Saturday, November 10, 2012
Rumor and insult is the poor mans argument
With the close of the election we will get a needed break from the attack adds and half-truths. Regretfully we will still experience it at a meeting or sitting at the kitchen table listening intently to the latest rumor.
It seems at times there is no way to see through the smoke. Sometimes the banter is harmless and other times it is meant to demonize an opponent. The most damaging insult or rumor is one that is invoked by an emotional response. We must all guard against this and let cooler heads prevail.
Those in leadership positions or aspiring to leadership must realize that they cannot be part of rumor mill or they will be held accountable for their participation.
As a leader (especially in a political sense) there will come a time when you will have to shine a light on someone’s actions or motives. Always try to attack positions not people. Be mindful that your opponent may be an allay on another issue.
So why is it so hard for our leaders to stick to motives and the issues? No side holds the moral high ground here. Both sides employ the same tactics. The answer is simple because attacks work. Misinformation and attacks has become as valid as the truth.
Some point to modern day politics, political action committees and the anonyms comments online as the source of contention. Forgetting that pennames and negative pamphlets where common place in our Revolution. The medium may have changed, but the impact is the same.
These attacks are not new. The Coffin Handbills of 1828 represented the start of utilizing surrogates to fund and attack ones opponents. The handbills (political pamphlets) attacked Andrew Jackson for executing deserters in the war of 1812.
Now I feel this is an issue was fair game for a public debate, however John Quincy Adams and his surrogate did not stop there. They followed up with claims about Jackson’s wife and his mother. Going as far as claiming his mother was a prostitute who served British troops.
Utilizing Political Action Committees and surrogates is necessary to advocate for our service. Our goal should be to stay positive and on message. We have a responsibility not to betray our service. While the politics of personal destruction continue to dominate the political landscape. We all lose when we stop talking about the issues and continue to talk about each other.
My father taught me that the worst individual you know would have an average of twenty people attend their funeral. He continued that we must look to find the value in all. Often it comes down to opening yourself up to see a different perspective. My father is a wise man, but left me to ponder, how do we know they didn’t show up to the funeral just to make sure the bastard was dead?”