Sunday, November 05, 2006

Using militant language in attempts to persuade

On the graymaine blog, someone chose the pen name, “American Civic Soldier.” I thought his choice was extremely interesting. It revealed much about his approach to civic engagement. It also revealed much about the Carroll Petition movement’s approach to persuasion signifying to us rhetoricians that the Carroll Petition movement is a Militant movement, not a Moderate movement, and there is a big difference.

The Carroll people tried to persuade the Council to keep Gray Dispatch in Gray, and not to combine forces with County. They tried to convince the town and the council during the decision process by using heated language and verbal and written diatribes. They also used a pressure tactic that Militant movements commonly use, to “ensnare the bureaucracy in its own red tape,” as described by rhetorician Dr. Herb Simons of Temple University. Using these tactics they engendered delay and successfully staved off a decision for almost 6 months.

That the blog commenter could have called himself “American Civic Diplomat,” or “American Citizen” but instead chose a warlike name is telling. The ‘soldier’ allusion is indicative of the kind of movement rhetoric that in the professorial realms is called “militant.” More on this in another post.

When the Council’s unanimous decision proved that the Militants had failed to persuade even one councilor, they ratcheted up their war by petitioning. That’s where we’re at now, and the rhetoric they are using indelibly illustrates that their preferred approach is militant, not collaborative or “moderate”, as ‘American Civic Soldier’ demonstrates with his preferred name.

For this week, a Carroll petition supporter on the anonymous hate blog ‘graymaine04039’ compared the Council to the Ku Klux Klan, naming her picture file “KKK AKA Town Council” and writing harshly against the councilors next to the revolting picture. Anyone who has seen the recent History Channel program on the disgusting history of the KKK would be horrified at the petition supporters' comparison of our mild-mannered councilor-neighbors to vicious, bigoted, racist, unrepentant murderers.

It’s evident that the Carroll petitioners are escalating their stance. My hope is that this time, they restrain themselves from violence, particularly on Tuesday as they try to get signatures at the polls. Things did tend toward violence during their last movement, the Recall. And the KKK language is worrisome in the extreme...


Soldier of Peace and Harmony said...

And it seems, o quiet life, that you perhaps missed the point. The point was not to save dispatch at all costs. The point was not to keep status quo no matter what. The point was to continue looking at alternatives in a finite time frame. By my reckoning, it's still not January 15th.

Important matters take important discussion and weighty hard choices. It may be that County would still be the end choice. Had all alternatives been studied, no doubt we could live with the choice.

Perhaps some are militant. But others just miss our dear town. You may be too young to remember, but there was a time that tough, tough decisions got made and we remained neighborly.

It was all about HOW the decision got made, not the final outcome.

Elizabeth Prata said...

I have a different opinion. For the recall, petitioners claimed the same thing. "O, regular business was not being done because the terrible Andy was taking over', 'he is forcing decisions down people's throats. We must remove him', they said, 'because proper decision making can't be done as long as he is on the council, unsuited as he is personality-wise to the job'. O goodness. 'It's not about power at all.'

So when the council votes unanimously after 9 months of study to an outcome that oppositional petitioners wanted, and suddenly it's not about the final outcome, but about the process.

My opinion is that the Dispatch process was respected, even-handed, and just fine.

And nine months, four presentations, and a committee that chimed in IS finite. My opinion is that it is obvious you just want a time frame extended until you got your outcome.

I'm not too young to remember that people respected a long process of deliberation and moved on with their lives after the council voted, and didn't call their neighbors the KKK.

Anonymous said...

The soldiers and their military are nothing but the Gray poilical machine. "They", the few, are about nothing but making things in Garay more costly and more difficult.

This study of dispatch has gone on for MORE than a year, as this soldier is old enough to know but not admit.

If it goes against council it's the thing to do? Let's focus on whats good for Gray. The converts are now finding it is the county option. You see, some didn't even bother to find out about the county option before hand. It was far more important to find a way to obstruct.

It also is clear when the protest, truth is NOT necessary. It's BAD politics at it's best.

Anonymous said...

This on top of the same folks want an ordinance requiring sprinkers in every home. They also want to require cisterns and then have the town assume them (think about the maintenance and replace ment costs at $30,000 or more and what that will do to your taxes).

Anonymous said...

Too often we... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
John F. Kennedy

Think before you sign this petition, get your name off if you signed already.