DRINKING TOO MUCH OF HIS OWN WHINE
History has a way of auto-romanticizing. It strips itself of the bad smells, obnoxious personality traits and instinctive class distinctions that accompany real life. Today we revere figures like Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, Sam Houston or Winston Churchill, to name but a few, however if we’d lived contemporaneously with them or many of their well-known peers we might have had second thoughts about them. Patrick Henry of “give me liberty or give me death” fame fought ratification of the Constitution because it gave the federal government too much power; Franklin was a womanizer who insisted on bringing up that pesky issue of slavery in the 1790’s when most wanted to leave well enough alone; Houston was a drunk who fought against Texas’ secession and lost the vote 171-6; Winston Churchill, often acceptably inebriated, spent more of his days as a back bencher and reject of the British people than he did its leader. All were highly criticized, themselves critical of others, rejected, fought lost causes, had ugly personality traits and one or most probably were the kind of people many readers would not long countenance in personal association.
Institutions and conventions of today exist only after having been forged by the fires of examination and debate. Great projects often were failures in their inception. The first attempt at the Panama Canal resulted in the era’s largest bankruptcy and its present day usefulness does not argue for the fraud and failure of its initial attempts.
The Lubbock Chamber of Commerce President recently published to the local newspaper a rant that surely must have been written while drinking too much his own whine. We suspect that after he sobered from his self-pitying, back-patting stupor he was sorry he wrote it. It was a drawer-letter if ever we’ve read one. He should have written it, put it in a drawer, and left it there having gratified his need to howl at the moon without the indecency of having committed publicus of equus asinus.
The gist of the Chamber leader’s letter, found below, seems to be resentment that the Chamber’s fantasies are questioned. It seems inconceivable to him that there are good citizens who together imagine Lubbock a place of low taxes that is relatively free from the strings attached to federal funds. At the Sandstorm Scholar we’re impressed with some of the Imagine Lubbock Together plans we’ve been shown, even if we could have written most of the conclusions before they went through the theatrics of an 18 month pep rally. So long as they keep their promises to fund their performing arts center privately and to provide an endowment for its operating expenses, we like the idea. No one has discovered “666” marked on the underside of any smart meter and we had to Google “Delphi Method” to recognize the techniques used in almost every professed consensus building exercise we’ve been involved in.
But neither our impressions nor the tender feelings of the Chamber leader negate the validity of the critics or their right to be heard. A bank doesn’t ask a non-equity employee to sign the promissory note for his employer’s loan. Nor do we ask the guarantee of a hireling that “these folks are looking out for Lubbock’s best interests.” He’s signing notes he hasn’t the credit to back when he presupposes to know what are the best interests of Lubbock or the motives of his employers. Give us the pure capitalism of selfish financial motives any day. Those we can understand and trust. When someone’s business prospers others find opportunity in spinoff commerce and competition.
We’re not suspicious of the Chamber. It’s doing what chambers of commerce and their bureaucrats do. It isn’t necessary to demonize the Chamber to debate its proposals nor should our elected officials be neutered of opinions or banned from participation. But when we become so enamored with the idea that we have ideas, or so attached to our ILTs, that our feelings are hurt when we are challenged then it is probably time to regroup and do an attitude check. Conversely, labeling something as being “Agenda 21” is its own tactic of tainting the opponent rather than arguing the merits. If local government approval or public funding are sought for these imaginary projects then debate outside of the strictures of the Chamber ought to be encouraged.
No whining allowed.
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal / June 4, 2013
The Imagine Lubbock Together effort during the past 20 months delivered an opportunity for community development our city has not experienced since May 1970 and the tornado that devastated a portion of Lubbock.
The current visioning and planning provides Lubbock citizens the most inclusive planning event in which the community has ever had the chance to participate. Yet there are still those few dissatisfied and disgruntled citizens who see it best to find fault with the process and don’t trust private business leaders who facilitated this planning to help improve Lubbock’s future.
Among the accusations are: UN Agenda 21 sustainable development planning, smart meters, ICLEI, huge tax increases, eminent domain, Delphi techniques, federal funding and only 3,000 Lubbock citizens actually participated — to name but a few.
Using that same openness, I express my thanks to the Imagine Lubbock Together steering committee, volunteers who many have given significant time and money back to this community over the years and are all known as people of integrity who would never intentionally do anything to harm the community.
I guarantee these folks are looking out for Lubbock’s best interests and actively working to do something positive as opposed to those claims.
So, on behalf of those of us who see the positive nature of Imagine Lubbock Together and future growth of our community from this process, thank you to the leaders who are helping make Lubbock a better place to live.
EDDIE MCBRIDE, President/CEO,
Lubbock Chamber of Commerce