In the cult movie classic "Idiocracy", Americans involved in a government experiment accidently get thrust into a future in which people are dumb and lazy. They don't think for themselves, and their leaders reflect that. Partly as a result, they and their leaders come to believe the crazy marketing/lobbying gimmick that a Gatorade-type liquid ("It's got electrolytes!") is perfect for everything, including growing crops. The people are too dumb to realize that it doesn't work.
The movie made me think of the upcoming municipal elections, and elections in general. I'm not saying that the electorate or any of the candidates are dumb, or that our leaders have bought into corporate hoopla to the detriment of the city, state or country. But I do wonder whether we dumb ourselves down when we let our leaders influence us with their cheap slogans and decide important issues based on the last lobbying pitch that is whispered in their ear.
For our democracy to work properly, we should choose our leaders and they should govern us based on the best ideas gathered through open communication and thoughtful consideration of issues to be decided.
That's why, this year, I'm voting for candidates who take Tulsa seriously, who will give thoughtful consideration to the city's issues, solicit your point of view and work in a transparent way to grow Tulsa responsibly for all of us.
What I know about Tom Adelson is that he will work for everyone, not just those who whisper in his ear last. He has proven that he can think for himself and is not afraid to listen to all sides of an issue before making important decisions. As a result, Tulsa will benefit from policies and decisions that build on the positive things that define our city.
I just don't have the same confidence in the other candidates. We know what happens when a politician is unable or unwilling to second-guess themselves or their advisors. For example, Dewey Bartlett's slogan is "We will roll out the red carpet, not the red tape." I don't know what that means, and Bartlett probably doesn't either. Tulsa is an up-and-coming city, with tremendous promise, a place where many people will want to move. And we should encourage that.
However, one of the most attractive elements of Tulsa is our historic buildings and neighborhoods. Is Dewey Bartlett going to allow those to be destroyed under his "red carpet" because the last person to whisper in his ear is a developer that wants to build a high-rise in a historic neighborhood?
Just recently, we received a mailing from Bartlett accusing Adelson of opposing the death penalty for child molesters. Does Bartlett realize that imposing the death penalty in that circumstance is unconstitutional and would never be enforced, so the vote was nothing but a cynical, very expensive political game? We can't afford that.
Similarly, Bartlett calls Tom Adelson a "socialist" -- another slogan -- without describing what it is that people should be concerned about. What people should be concerned about are politicians bearing slogans with nothing behind them. I know that Tom Adelson is capable of weighing the considerations important to Tulsa. I don't have the same confidence in the other candidates.
Democracy requires leadership and public involvement. Leadership means engaging the public (and not just one segment of it), considering all viewpoints and making the best decision for the city. Not wasting our time and money on silly games that do nothing but insult the people who live in the city. Not ignoring the views of Tulsans in favor of those with privileged access. For a smarter Tulsa, I hope that people use their brains and vote for thoughtful leadership, not for a slogan.
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