Tuesday, December 22, 2009

CM Emily Evans responds pointedly to CM Erik Cole's strained WPLN analogies

An an email to Erik Cole obtained by the Tennessean's Michael Cass, Emily Evans takes the District 7 CM to task for a couple of strained analogies:

I listened to your WPLN interview and was appalled at the implication that those who oppose the convention center, like the SEIU, can somehow be equated to those that opposed Civil Rights for African Americans or those who opposed intervention in the European theater during World War 2. There is no excuse for mentioning those things in the same interview let alone the same sentence.

The convention center is opposed and the petition drive is supported by working men and women who, after being abandoned by their traditional advocates in Council, now have to rely on more unconventional approaches to get their message across. The working people of this city know how the convention center will end up – costing them money and jobs – and they feel the need to speak about it.

When placing the relative trivia of municipal activities on the same plane as watershed events in human history you demean and diminish the achievements of the men and women who lived and died for their cause.


I said my piece on the WPLN interview, so you know that I agree with CM Evans wholeheartedly. I'm also glad at least one CM is standing up to the steamrolling PR process of selling the convention center, even when the PR is high-minded platitudes about "populism and democracy."

CM Cole responded to Cass that those of us who are criticizing his analogy are failing "to see the caveats." On the contrary; his cautions were clear to me. I understand that he is warning against blindly following public opinion, but convention center critics like me are not suggesting that.

So, he's impugning us again. Not only do we have a mob mentality, but we're saps that don't grasp the nuance of his sophisticated claims about populism.

It's not that I don't see Mr. Cole's warnings about referendums. It's that I don't buy his linkage of popular concerns about the budgetary affects of a new convention center with segregationists or Nazi appeasers.

He appears to think that if he prefaces his remarks with the statement that he is in "no way" drawing a link that it somehow magically clears him to go ahead and make the link. The WPLN reporter did not introduce the subjects of civil rights or of World War II into the discussion. Mr. Cole did. Once they are out there on the table, the comparison is de facto regardless of any other rationalizations about what he actually meant.

The unchallenged utterance creates misperception. Blaming us by saying we don't get him won't change that brutal fact.

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