Sunday, December 4, 2011

Johnny One-Note

So much for keeping it classy.

I knew that eventually the civilized discussions around local elections would get heated and out of hand.   People are human, there are times when they don't live up to the standards they would like.  A few of you have been so extreme that you are not going to enter my house until I'm convinced that you're housebroken again.  You know who you are.

Time for some Tough Love.

What concerns me the most about the current rhetoric are the people who are so wrapped up in their one little ideology that they are incapable of acknowledging any other POV.  I call them "Johnny One-Notes."

You all have met these people around town and online.  They're like evangelists who have had some kind of life-changing experience, and now they're going to save the world starting with Dunwoody based on the nugget of philosophy they've absorbed.  Hallelujah!  Can I get a ay-men!  All non-believers are going to hell and damnation!

Anyone is prone to falling into this trap.  The key is when you stop acknowledging the people around you with other priorities and reasons for their thinking.

Here are a couple examples, in no specific order:

The one who can't give their name or an opinion without emphasizing how many years they've lived in Dunwoody.  Best description is TheOtherDunwoody's "More Dunwoody Than You".  I watched this first-hand at Light Up Dunwoody.  "I'm Ishkebibble and iiIIIIiii've lived in Dunwoody for 30 YEARS!"  The implication being that they are more important, or their opinion is more worthy of attention because of their longevity.  If you catch yourself announcing how many years you've lived in town at the opening of conversations, stop it.  No really, knock it off, you sound like a tool and it's embarrassing.

The born-again preacher.  Doesn't matter what they're "born again" about, their sole goal is to get everyone else in town to follow the new life philosophy they have found.  They sidle up to the right councilman or city hall employee, whisper in the right ear, and are given something to do simply because of their enthusiasm.  In a way I don't blame city hall for just handing them a role - anything to keep them from being a pain in your ass, right?  But what happens when they encounter a different opinion?  That's when the show starts!  Crying, pouting, foot-stomping, and self-pity, followed by condemnation of the offender.  "How DARE he not drop everything and support me!  Woe is me, I'm so unloved, how can people be so mean by not agreeing with everything I say?"   Once more, with feeling - put a sock in it.

Here's why it's important to recognize Johnny One-Note:  our city government structure is about consensus. In theory, our government recognizes that there are a slew of various interests and priorities.  If left to their own devices they could compete and destroy each other.  On the other hand if they all get heard fairly and all considered, they can all be acommodated.  Johnny One-Note is incapable of that mutual listening.  Johnny One-Note can only see their own personal vision, and no one else's.  Johnny One-Note will manipulate the system to legislate their lifestyle and standards, and other Johnny One-Notes are deeply threatened by that.

In recent days, the Johnny One-Notes have been all over the internet, advocating for their candidate.  It's ugly.  It's moronic.  Worst of all, it reflects badly on the candidate they say is right for the job.  Is it truly that the candidate is right?  Or are they going to cater to their Johnny One-Note to the detriment of all others?  I can't tell.  Neither can many others because posts have appeared from people that claim to make their ballot decision based on the Johnny One-Note behaviour.

So if you've been letting your passions get the better of you this week, you may be causing your candidate more trouble than you're worth.  Candidates, it's a little late to get a leash on these kids.  I don't know how much you can control them but did you at least try to pull someone aside and ask them to tone it down for the sake of your campaign?

In both of the runoff elections there is only one candidate that is not conspicuously associated with a Johnny One-Note.  That is Terry Nall.  Terry has had to discuss some unpleasant issues, and he has only compared himself with Rob to contrast their priorities and track records.  But you don't hear his supporters taking snide potshots on Facebook or Patch.

To all my Johnny One-Notes:  Vote on December 6.  Do what you have to do to get the angst out of your system.  Then be man or woman enough to compose an eloquent apology for making an ass of yourself.  You have to look the people you behaved badly for in the eye, no matter who is in office, no matter what their agenda becomes.


Anonymous said...

This post is makes several good points:

1.) Terry Nall has kept a high road in his campaign. Terry is a class act and was able to do this as a direct result of his opponent not going negative.

One mayoral candidate chose to employ political operatives that specialize in negative campaign tactics, thus insuring the mayor;s race contest could not maintain the 'high road.'

"Action. RE-action"

2.) Our system of government can, to some degree, be manipulated by advocacy groups, yet advocacy groups are not omnipotent. The voter always trumps. A representative's voting choices must match the majority of the Constituency or that Rep will not be re-elected.

In my opinion, the overarching point that this post does not address - Robo-calls, negative flyers, and negative opposition research (finding facts that are not necessarily germane to a candidate's campaign) ALL are proven winning strategies.

I hate these techniques and am stating what 'is' not 'what ought to be.' As you point out, it is moronic.

Many people dislike politics and are turned off by negative techniques. Dunwoody voters have rejected negative campaign tactics TWICE before.

We will see if Dunwoody will cement a trend toward Terry Nall's positive, intelligent style of campaign tactics based on how the mayoral contest pans out tonight.

Finally, politics is and throughout history has always been a 'bloodsport.' The visible effect of negative campaigns may be moronic but the end-game stakes, the power to tax and police, is high.

Perhaps a candidate ought to 'leash in' overzealous supporters, but the Constitutional freedoms of political speech trump.

Plus, in the words of a famous Hollywood actress:

"There is no such thing as bad publicity."


Anonymous said...

Thrice, Dunwoody rejects negative campaign tactics.

People 3
Hacks 0

Take heed, political consultants.