Sunday, August 10, 2008

Can you tell the truth w/out it being a "smear?" What is a "smear?"

The reason I asked is because I was wondering how other people viewed their City Council person's job responsibilities. I asked this question and gave examples of such things like the water main breaks in a neighborhood. I asked should a City Council person be able to deliver an answer to why so many break in one neighborhood on a regular basis? Someone accused my question of being a smear on someone. So I researched the word smear to question my own question. I really was just trying to find out how others felt, and compare it to where I personally fell in the mix. Maybe I am odd person out, maybe I am a little in the old school way of thinking when it comes to local politicians and their duties and responsibilities.

Since the definition of smear reads: "A smear campaign is an intentional, premeditated effort to undermine an individual's or group's reputation, credibility, and character. Smear tactics differ from normal discourse or debate in that they do not bear upon the issues or arguments in question. A smear is a simple attempt to malign a group or an individual and to attempt to undermine their credibility. Smears often consist of ad hominem attacks in the form of unverifiable rumors and are often distortions, half-truths, or even outright lies; smear campaigns are often propagated by gossip spreading."

If one thinks that a politician isn't doing the job well and/or doesn't think highly of a politician because of things they have personally seen and/or heard and/or been a part of (some are verifiable, some are not), and one voices this displeasure, is that smearing? If so, then how does one speak out against things they think are wrong and it involve a politician?

Credibility - " Traditionally, credibility is composed of two primary dimensions: trustworthiness and expertise, which have both objective and subjective components. "

Courage - "is the ability to confront fear, pain, risk/danger, uncertainty, or intimidation."

Moral Courage - "is the courage to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement."


VinnyV28 said...

I tend to lean to the "grill your representative"-side of the house so I would probably not label legitimate questions smears.

Legitimate questions such as "Why do we have a lot of water line breaks on our streets" require a non-B.S. answer. If, however, the question was phrased in a way that deliberately plays on people's emotions: "Why can't you prevent water line breaks, councilman?" then you've crossed the line because you haven't given him/her a chance to explain before putting them on the defensive.

BTW, no one knows when/where a water line break will occur. The older parts of town particularly have two main things going against them: #1 the age of their pipes is higher & #2 the quality of material/workmanship could vary somewhat depending on the city's budget at the time they were installed. It is just too cost prohibitive to rip up all the old pipes in Fort Worth.

Suzette Watkins said...

VinnyV28 - it's only cost prohibitive if we are spending more on repair than it would cost to replace the system, (which I think we are in Meadowbrook).

Thanks for visiting and commenting.