Friday, July 14, 2006

Heating Up

“Treat children like adults and adults like children”

- Kinky Friedman

Things are heating up here in Emporia, Kansas. According to Gary Lezak up in Kansas City it’s going to be over a hundred for the next few days. It’s all been preceded by rain, which we desperately needed. Last Saturday, our pastor had us pray for the rain and it was answered in spades, a couple of inches worth at least. As I peek out my window right now I see that everything looks soggy, including our privacy fence and the mulberry tree. By the end of the day, though, it’ll all be frying in the prairie heat.

The City Commission met this past Wednesday to discuss the 2007 budget. Bobbie Agler, the only one of ‘em who seems to be able to count the beans, said that the “proposed $1.2 million increase in the general fund just didn’t make sense.”

As Scott Rochat reported:

“Agler wanted to see more detail to explain the general fund’s runaway growth. Since 2000, he said, the general fund had grown by more than 30 percent – or by about 40 percent, if the newest budget proposal were adopted. In that same period, he noted, population shrank slightly while household income went up by not quite 8 percent.”

“What needs caused this growth?” he asked. “Why do we have a 40 percent increase? Are we running the most efficient government possible?”

Bobbie knows why it’s been happening, of course. Before he got there every department head and every city entity would come around at budget time with the hats in their hands and the commissioners would all say “Aye,” thinking that money is one of those things we all just crap. Well, this time around Bobbie is saying that there are some department heads who are going to have to do their own crappin’ into their own hats. Good for him! He’s a man after my own heart.

A couple of nights ago a Gazette reader took me to task for what she called “a recent retort by Mr. Dillon.” Which had been published in the Gazette. Having read my response to her letter, she determined that it “deserved a chastening response.”

Her original letter had to do with Thierry Meyssan’s book “The Big Lie” which, for reasons which will become obvious, I won’t provide a link to. At first I wasn’t going to respond to her response, seeing the obvious contest brewing. But, I’m past all my bladder and prostate problems now and feel in fine shape for such a contest of wills. And I’ve also found a way to make it all give me some political capital here in town, assuming the Gazette will publish it. I think it might be a good way to kill one bird and feed another with one stone. King David would be proud.

My response to her response follows:

Last May 26th I wrote “I’m really tired of hearing how New York’s Jews were told to stay home on September 11th, 2001. I’m tired of hearing it was all a Jewish conspiracy. I’m tired of hearing it was a government plot. And, I’m tired of hearing that it was actually U.S. missiles, and not hijacked passenger planes, which took down the World Trade Center towers.”

Yesterday a Gazette reader took me to task for what I wrote.

I remain unchastened; I stand by what I said!

I’ve lived long enough now to have heard many conspiracy/cover-up theories of one kind or another. Some are amusing, like Bigfoot and Area 51. Some are dated like the Kennedy assassination theories or the Pearl Harbor cover-up. But the 9-11 conspiracy theories being concocted these days are of a wilder, more offensive sort. I’ll put in plainly. I find the work of men like Thierry Meyssan offensive. It does grave injustice to the thousands of innocent Americans who died on September 11, 2001.

I do not believe that the terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon were the work of CIA operatives, the U.S.Government, the Illuminati, or aliens. I mention these not to be trite, but because these are just a few of the theories actually being sold for profit since those tragic days.

In the early aftermath of the attacks it was clear to me, as it was to the overwhelming majority of Americans, that they were the handiwork of Osama bin Laden. It was also clear to people who reviewed Meyssan’s book, including the review from Der Spiegel, a German center-left publication I cited back in May. It was hardly a “crackpot, right wing, no-doubt-paid for critique.” It was my way of saying that one doesn’t have to be a proponent of the Bush administration’s policy or conduct of the War on Terror and the War in Iraq to be reasonable. Millions of people from the left and right sides of the political spectrum, in this regard, are. They, like me, believe that the 9-11 attacks were the work of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.

I stand by what I said!

Mr. Meyssan may be able to get a half a million people to buy lies like the notion that the September 11th attacks weren’t the work of al Qaeda, but were planned and masterminded “from inside the American state apparatus.” (“The Big Lie” – page 133), but I remain resolute. While I support the notion of a free marketplace of ideas, it will never be on any summer reading list I compile. As Holy Writ says, “Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial.”

Forty-five years ago I took the high road when, as a young John F. Kennedy Democrat, I raised my hand and swore to defend the U.S. Constitution at the military induction center in Boston, Massachusetts. I served for eight and a half years honoring that oath, including a one year tour of duty (1965-1966) in Vietnam. I understand, as much as any man, what our Constitution means. I am as willing now, as I was then, to defend it and the rights of people whose views are far from the mainstream of American life. They are as free to express what I believe to be offensive views as I am free to call their views offensive. If they are free to posit the notion that the 9-11 attacks were orchestrated by the U.S. government, I am also free to call those views what I believe they are – irresponsible, un-American, and offensive. That’s the American way and I fully intend to live my life with those principles in mind.

In a few months time I’ll be embarking on a shoestring budget campaign for city commissioner. This city is facing some real issues and I’m going to make my case for change. If I’m given the opportunity, people in this city will know where I stand. Then when Election Day comes I’ll leave to the good folks of Emporia to decide whether my views on city government are too conservative or too liberal for them. If there’s any chastening to be done, that’ll be the day for it. That, too, is the American way.

Phil Dillon
Emporia, Kansas

As you can see, I do love to play in the political gravel. I think it comes from my Boston roots where they pump it into you intravenously when you’re born.

I am running a very low budget campaign. The City of Emporia, with its forty percent increase in the general fund, has me tapped out so I can’t afford a high-powered political consultant. So, I’d appreciate any comments or sage political advice you might have, particularly local folks. Who knows? A lot can be done on a shoestring. By the time this is all said and done a good man like Bobbie Agler may have another ally with him down at city hall.

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1 comment:

James Fletcher Baxter said...

"That's the American way and I fully intend to live my life with those principles in mind." - Phil Dillon

The American way of life includes Individual Value, the Endowed Ability and Right to Choose, Constitutional Representative Government, Principle of Stewardship adhered to by electees,
Representative and Citizen respect for Law and Legislation that anticipates consequence of Vision and Vote by Principle.

Thus, restoration of the system originated by The Founders.

"Welcome Home, Mr. Jefferson!"

"Man cannot make or invent or contrive principles. He
can only discover them and he ought to look through the
discovery to the Author." -- Thomas Paine 1797