Sunday, May 22, 2005

Diverting your attention

David Hays (AKA Hayes) has had published yet another letter that indicates the poverty of the anti-fiber position. Without a positive vision for Lafayette, or even a very effective negative anti-fiber flag to fly, the opposition has taken to smearing the city, LUS, and —when useful— the police department.

Earlier this week we saw (and reported on) the spectacle of an anti-fiber guest editorial in the Advertiser that did not so much as mention fiber—much less any argument against the plan—but instead spent all its energy trying to tear down LUS and implying that there was something "hidden" and dishonest about the LUS "In Lieu of Taxes" contribution to the city's general fund. The idea that such a visible and common practice across the country and for generations in Lafayette is hidden and misrepresented is simply puzzling if you don't understand the writer's hidden agenda: convincing you to think poorly of the proponents of Lafayette's plan without addressing the plan itself.

This practice of misdirecting your attention continues unabated in today's Advertiser letters...

David Hays' letter would like you to minimize BellSouth and Cox's misdeeds, to look away from what they actually did, and to infer that the city and our police department are worse in any case. He's dead wrong; let us indulge ourselves in the tedium of showing how, step by step and line by line. He begins:

The push poll makes it clear that the incumbents will do foolish things in the LUS FTTH battle.

No, let us not indulgently characterize the push poll as "foolish" —that is truly inadequate. The push poll was dishonest, it was intended to perpetuate and spread what the poll writers knew were lies. The absurd quality of the lies reveals that those offering it think of the people of Lafayette with nothing less than contempt—rationing TV! Really, how gullible do they think we are? The most disgusting part of it all was the attempt to stir up a little racial animosity by spreading the lie that only the south side would get fiber. Do we really want to write off as "foolish" the kind of corporation that would decide to call every household in the city and spread that particular lie? No, foolish is the thing you call this if you are unwilling to condemn what needs to be condemned—as David Hays is unwilling to condemn the actions of those his acts aid. He goes on:

Either they're lying, or they're not in control of their own organization. I don't know which is worse.

Oh come now, it is easy to say which is worse; an organization that is willing to pay for an attempt to inject a series of lies into the community as a matter of corporate policy is far worse than one that has a few out-of-control underlings doing so. There is no question that the poll lies. All you have to do is look at the questions. They are designed to transmit lies. Pure. Simple. That is the idea; the purpose. So the question that the writer is really trying to direct our attention to is whether that lie is due to out-of-control underlings in some way that might excuse the "real" company. But no such excuse is possible in this case. The problem is that this is the second push poll. The problem is that it wasn't any "irresponsible underling" at the local level that took credit for the most recent one. It is very clear from the account of both companies that this was a policy decision that did not take place at the local level. The pretense that it is reasonable to interpret what happened with the push poll as a couple of on-the-street-level guys who somehow "got foolish" one afternoon is not credible and should not be floated. We all know better. Then comes the real kicker:

It's kind of like when the cops beat the downtown restaurant owner, except in this case no one got hurt. It's a good thing. Only the city can get away with that kind of thing.

Ah, we get to the real point: we should think of our city government and police department as "kind of like" BellSouth and Cox, only worse. Because, apparently, only they "can "get away with that kind of thing." Really? As I understand it, an uncomfortable investigation is going on within the police department right now. It is certainly NOT city policy to beat up restaurant owners. On the other hand, it certainly IS BellSouth and Cox's policy to use push polls to spread lies in our community. They've done it twice. They themselves have excluded the excuse of "rogue locals." This is corporate policy. Anti-fiber partisans do no one, least of all their own cause, any favors by flinching from the truth about their brothers-in-arms.

David Hays


David Hays is not from Lafayette; he is from Grand Coteau in St. Landry parish and will not be able to vote in our election. We've had a pointed discussion about this point on these pages. He is the same fellow as the David Hayes from Grand Coteau that had a letter published on May 10th.

P. S. If this letter sounded familiar to regular readers of this blog, that is because it IS familiar. You first saw it here more than 2 weeks ago.


John said...

David Hays in a private letter, says the didn't misidentify himself to the Advertiser as a resident of Lafayette. I believe him and think an Advertiser mistake much more likely than his acting out of character on this point. I regret any implication to the contrary.

(Some Blogger weirdness caused the post this comment is attached to to revert to draft status during the middle of the day. My apologies for its unexpected vanishing act.)

GumboFilé said...

Thanks for the attention to my little letter, the point of which is that there is a critical qualitative difference between civil government and business. They are of entirely different natures. I can, and do, ignore Cox and BS with impunity. I can only ignore LCG at my own peril. This is the kind of institution whose power should be restricted rather than expanded.

David Hays
Grand Coteau

John said...

Hi David,

I have to say that now you are being plain and clear. You regard our local government as radically different in kind from businesses. So no matter how egregious the lies, no matter how damaging the racial innuendo might be to Lafayette it really doesn't matter since in all cases an in all times business is better than any government. This you believe to be true as a matter of faith no matter how close to home the small local government is and no matter how large, uncaring, and monopolistic the business.

I can't go there with you. Not when doing so would requires of me, as it evidently requires of you, to ignore the repeated, obvious, and real misdeeds of the incumbents and to fear those I know and directly elected on the grounds of things that are only imagined (mostly, as far as I can tell, only by you and a very few others).

GumboFilé said...

You're putting words in my mouth. I simply believe that, for this reason as well as others, the proposed solution is worse than the problem.