- Written by Mike Martin
"Malcontents, dissidents, naysayers" and other worthless POS's
COLUMBIA, Mo 4/13/15 (Op Ed) -- "Malcontents"
Want to know what Columbia's powerful one percenters think of Mr. and Mrs. 99 Percenter?
Look no farther than Hank Waters' editorials about April's city-wide elections, in which the Columbia Daily Tribune chief did more "shooting down" than ever. He used the half-dozen names above and plenty of other insults to bash average folks trying to stay engaged with their government.
Mr. Waters remains the most vocal representative of Columbia's Town Bosses, the ol' boys club that gives local administrators and elected officials their marching orders. Knowing how and what they think is important.
The Bosses have a lot of power and aren't afraid to use it for their benefit and our detriment, if need be.
Like his bossy buddies, Mr. Waters often patronizes the masses.
Neighborhood associations and citizen-driven planning groups are "meddlesome congregations ready to emerge like mushrooms from the streets," he wrote in February.
Only with City Hall's guidance can such groups produce "better soldiers for their areas...their zeal tempered...by knowing pertinent ground rules...and going for what’s possible rather than what a dissident rump group might dream up off in a corner by itself."
He can also be remarkably smug, calling First Ward Council candidates "a new mob...who share the urge that the city -- the world, really -- is ready for their ameliorating influence."
Though it's unlikely the candidates entertained such overstated ambitions, "don't laugh" Mr. Waters implored. Naive, misguided souls -- how can they possibly avoid delusions of grandiosity?
For those who questioned The Man over the past couple years, Mr. Waters saved his bluntest blows. Leaving the "good little soldier" rhetoric behind, he unleashed a torrent of insults in March and April that set the "getting personal and going negative" bar lower than ever at his level of influence.
The main aggravating factor is that Mr. Waters' bashed average folks short on money, time, and energy. Rather than critiquing ideas, or finding flaws in proposals, he went after people.
About critics of city government, "most of the time they are wrong," he wrote. But which times? And how are they wrong? They "too often play loose with facts." But which facts? And how are these "facts" misconstrued?
It was elitist downtalking designed to demoralize, not a substantive discussion of pros and cons.
Though America journalists should hold the powerful to account -- not kiss their asses -- for Columbia's powerful, Mr. Waters reserved the highest praise. They do all the hard work, he wrote. They are competent, moral, benevolent, well-intentioned -- and right nearly all the time.
Their only failing, in Waters' eyes: they don't toot their own horns nearly often enough.
"The most disappointing element in the campaign is the apparent urge among several to bad-mouth City Hall," Mr. Waters wrote in March. "The plain fact is the city of Columbia is well-managed and the Council does a good job of making policy. The city administration is talented and honest....I have gained confidence in the ability of City Manager Mike Matthes....The more one gets to know Matthes, the more impressive he is."
Critics of city government, Opus, Ginny Chadwick, TIF, Blight, failing infrastructure -- the list is long -- "ALWAYS reflect some sort of deep-seated, undeserved animus toward 'establishment' people who do the hard work and invest to make the community work," Mr. Waters psychobabbled.
Are these people, he wondered, driven by "real concerns about city policymaking" or "the heady rush of self-importance that always comes with taking a bite out of 'the Establishment'?"
If you just felt your face getting slapped, you too are a worthless POS who does no hard work, makes no community investment, and is only motivated by your own false sense of importance.
Perhaps sensing how harsh all this sounded, Mr. Waters did drop in a couple of lines to soften the blows. "We should never simply want them to shut up," he wrote. Really?
Hank says we suffer from "deep-seated animus" and delusions of "self-importance".
Allow me to put on my amateur psychologist hat.
Perhaps he suffers from psychological projection: "the projection of one's own negative qualities onto others."
-- Mike Martin