A Simple Test, A Difficult Responsibility

We all make mistakes, we’re all human. Well most of us.
We all have shortcomings, we’re all human. Well most of us.
We all exude negative traits from time to time. we’re all humans. Well most of us.

Yesterday’s story in The Fayetteville Observer reports, among other things we may deal with later, the mayor says she owns her mistakes and shortcomings.

A Simple Test: When you see her make a mistake or exude a shortcoming, or worse things, that affect a whole community, because they do, ask her about it.

“Mistakes” (or worse, lies, contradictions, prevarications, deceptions, conceits, misleads, verbal tricks, or other concepts for which “mistakes” is the gloss-over term) don’t always show up in a newspaper story or on the news, dropped into your lap from the sky. You won’t find them at the photo ops or the campaign appearances or the meet-and-greets.
The “positivity” abounds in those places, and the show decorum is easier to manage. And if the external shows and the news filtered through other propaganda-positive sources is all you see, then you’re going to miss a lot of truths. You’ll never find the truth with your eyes closed, and you’ll miss a lot of the truth because people will manage it for you.

A Difficult Responsibility: Pay attention to actual decisions and behaviors, not just second-hand accounts and generalizations. It’s in more difficult situations that you’ll find the mistakes and shortcomings and negative traits and all the worse behaviors those generalized terms “mistakes and shortcomings” gloss over.

It’s been 10 years. Mistakes, shortcomings, and worse, are not a continuous thing, but they are prevalent enough that even if you didn’t want to, you would probably find some that you consider a mistake, shortcoming, or worse. As for shortcomings, those will pop up quicker in any basic experience, but that takes time and exposure. But you’ll see them.
Some of the examples you may not see in the next few months, but they’ve popped out over years.

You’ll find them when you’re sitting in on the town board meetings (sometimes even in videos), interactions with people in the board room, a few audio and video interactions online, previous radio interviews, her (deleted) facebook page (pieces still exist), and some other available media.
You’ll see answers that aren’t really answers to the question, but are wrapped up well enough in other topics for the questioner to stop asking questions.
You’ll find deflected blame.
You’ll find petulance when questioned.
You’ll hear her raise her voice in closed session because someone didn’t accept her “don’t have a vote” opinion.
You’ll find her not going on Good Morning Fayetteville any more, but going to smaller, easier-to-manage outlets where she won’t be questioned about her “mistakes.”
You’ll find her saying when people say negative things, “I do not respond. I rise above it” which patently contradicts the idea of “owning mistakes.” Then you see her respond, just not publicly.
You’ll see propaganda in the local yellow rag (even cover pics of cover pics), and participating in emails to slam fellow board members.
You’ll find rolled eyes and gaveling fellow commissioners down when they want to discuss “unity among the board” after her husband wrote a scathing editorial and bought signs against “this board” but then claimed they weren’t personally directed.
You’ll find deleted propaganda blogs and places she currently shares town events, but also places she doesn’t share them.
You’ll find a circus zoo at the meetings where she really wanted a circus zoo to force her idea through the board.
You’ll find comments that go beyond the mayor’s role as cheerleader and meeting president.
You’ll find statements that contradict her other statements.
You’ll find “I do not have a vote sir” then you’ll find that’s just a technical defense, sometimes it’s not true, because sometimes she does have a vote.
You’ll find other stuff if you pay attention.
You’ll find her confronting me to get me to stop doing satire about her mistakes (and patent lies), then a year later saying she has no problem with satire, but filing a lawsuit to try to redefine the setup of a satire page.
Some of the allegations in her lawsuit were mistakes, because they were based on her opinion, not truth. Her complaint actually listed many negative traits which she claimed not to have. We are all humans. We all have negative traits. And now she claims to own her mistakes and shortcomings….while also saying she doesn’t exude any of a list of 15 negative traits that anyone who’s paid attention the last 10 years can point out?

So, do the difficult responsibility: pay attention beyond the surface narratives. Go beyond the gloss-overs and the bare-bones stories and the frantic election campaign rah rah coverage and put all the truths you see together in your head. Don’t depend on others’ gossip or others’ passdowns. Don’t solely depend on the first explanation from the actors themselves. Do the same with anyone in office. If you didn’t pay attention years back, go back a while. When you see something that doesn’t fit in context with the other things you know, or have seen claimed, or even heard her say, do that simple test. Ask her about it.
See if she, by her own attributed description, owns it.

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