Thursday, September 3, 2009

It is a Good Time to Say No

It is a Good Time to Say No

The Asheville Citizen Times recently ran another targeted editorial cartoon depicting me as a self-important grandstanding politician with a dedication to the word no. They got two out of three right, but would not accept my reciprocal editorial response. I thought you might.
In the June 3rd Asheville Citizen-times, David Cohen's editorial cartoon offered a stereotypical depiction of Asheville City Councilman Carl Mumpower as a "self important, grandstanding politician" with a penchant for saying "NO". I do not enjoy a strong sense of my personal importance, but the editorial was otherwise absolutely correct.

It is myth that today's America is run on the basis of mature collaboration between value driven leaders seeking the common good. The truth centers on power - mostly in support of self, special, or party interests. For the super-minority operating from different motivations, grandstanding, as in illuminating issues with enthusiasm, is a crucial gizmo in the political toolbox.

Political satirists, usually mad at challenges to their special interests, will frequently and unsuccessfully attempt to put me in my place with the label "Dr. No". Anyone who has raised children understands that "NO" is every bit as crucial to success as "YES". In fact, I would firmly suggest that today's America needs a lot more "NO".

When it comes to accepting open air drug markets and prostitution in public housing and other vulnerable neighborhoods, anything less than "NO" seems insincere. If we truly believe in fair governance, the people living in the apartments of Deaverview should be as safe as the people living in elegant homes on Kimberly Avenue.

It is my pleasure to say "NO" to those who believe it is OK to ignore America's porous borders and the host of employers who exploit an imported illegal underclass. In a dangerous world, no country without boundaries can sustain itself. The heart of our free market economy is sold out when we allow self-serving employers to undercut their competitors, artificially suppress wages, and transfer health, social service, and education costs to the rest of us.

Restraint and responsibility have become bad words in our government's rapid embrace of totalitarian policies mocking the Constitution and ignoring the lessons of history. It is my pleasure to consistently say "NO" to those who are willing to mortgage our grandchildren's tomorrows for the "me" generation's selfish today.

Our local state legislative representatives have successfully manipulated control of Asheville's one billion dollar water asset. In a classic case of power over principle, makeup has been applied to misbehaviors any drug thug would recognize instantly. How could a politician with an ounce of courage say "YES" to the greatest act of political plunder in our city's history?

Those who believe that "NO" is every bit as important as "YES" can find a model in the wisdom of Winston Churchill. At the beginning of World War II this gentleman offered his shortest and best speech in a career filled with illustrious prose - "Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."

Those with a dedication to special interests over the common good are not going to stop what they are doing. The corrupt power structure of my party and the other party are not likely to soon embrace principles as their defining mission. Those willing to steal America's future with false promises, big government excess, and greed do not seem inclined to alter their course.

Under such circumstances, I will savor the opportunities to say "YES", but I will not take off my "NO" button and surrender to the pressures of political correctness. America is busy mass producing "YES" men politicians schooled in the easy task of squandering other people's money and liberty. Their limited vocabulary necessitates a "Dr. No" - and that is important.

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