April 13, 2020
We all have a sense of what the “Dark Side of Politics” is and what it means. I will give my interpretation and share some thoughts about the inherent dangers and unfortunate outcomes.
Opposing viewpoints and opposite votes are part of a healthy deliberative process. A process some compare to making sausage. The dark side begins, innocently enough, to cast its shadow when there is intense disagreement with, a vote or votes, by those having passionate opposing viewpoints.
Enter political goals and aspirations fueled by the influence and motivation to run for an election, the pressure to promote oneself, the feeling that this is your chance to win a sought after elected office, the need for political support, and unfortunate things start to happen. Emotion and passion accelerates into divisiveness which then becomes a destructive tactic of Me against him or her or them approach.
Those who are guilty of disagreeing and have the responsibly to cast their vote can become targets of unfounded accusations, misinformation, threats, intimidating behavior, and even accused of being “Bought and Paid” for. Behaviors and comments define civility in conduct. A positive platform centered on issues is not enough. An ethical use of facts is not enough. The dark side of politics is no longer a shadow.
Unrestrained mischief, by an actor (or actors), especially using social media, damages civility and escalates into derogatory comments by otherwise decent people who get caught up in the emotion and passion it generates.
This mischief is very offensive to those decent elected officials with important ethics and values who work to do the right thing. This mischief also results in undermining the reputation of good members who work hard to do their homework, are competent and intelligent.
More importantly, such mischief erodes the trust and confidence the public has in its elected officials and our great City. Please keep in mind that social media & E-mail are powerful forces for disparaging, false and misleading remarks.
Political goals and aspirations that cause division, chaos, anxiety, and disparage colleagues disgusts the public. This is not in the best interests of our great city of O’ Fallon or any municipality.
A better more positive approach is to find ways to bargain, build relationships, compromise and find common ground among all stakeholders for the best overall outcome. This is the approach of “Governance”.