American television journalist and author Jeff Greenfield once said, "More things in politics happen by accident or exhaustion than happen by conspiracy." Conspiracy theories thrive in cultures that have lost the ability to understand the science and art of politics. With the vast consumption of rumor and demand for half-truths by Americans at an all-time high, people have become conditioned to the easy access of inclusion in the blame game. In truth, conspiracies usually represent evil, unlawful, and treacherous plans formulated in secret by two or more persons to commit a fraud.
Today, most people have lost the will, the patience and the attention span to understand politics beyond digesting bits of drawing room gossip and grand conspiracy theories. As a consequence, when something goes wrong, and, inevitably, things do go wrong on a daily basis, Earthlings rush to these sensational conspiracy theories and the groundless gossip that is unfortunately gaining public attention by labeling itself “political insight” and “fact.”
As William Butler Yeats observed when "things fall apart...the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." Our once fair town of Portsmouth, Ohio, has descended into troubled times, yet no singlular spirit of bipartisanship unites the leadership or the populace. Backbiting has its roots in jealousy and selfish aims. People in positions providing journalistic integrity are engaged in a deadly game of one-upsmanship using creative intimidation and lies.
Officials in my hometown of Portsmouth, Ohio, have become open targets of those who gush torrents of unbelievable, unsubstantiated claims of injustice and corruption. Local blogs, the area press, personal telephone campaigns, and miserable, dimwitted individuals have leveled claims at nearly everyone in any position of prominence in town. The sickening braying by many of the citizens of Portsmouth is worse than the juvenile squawking from a playground full of bickering kindergarten children.
I have been told the best way to handle ignorant rantings is to ignore them. The recent election put me face to face with dishonest tactics and dealings by certain candidates for public office. During the election, so much mudslinging and hurtful content nearly made it impossible for me to close my ears, believe in goodness, and vote for dignified people. The skeletons of those running for office were not just taken from their closets for public display -- they were paraded through every sacred arena of so-called "fairness and justice."
Let's face it, a straight answer is this town is harder to find than a suit of clothes. Cronies, deals, cover-ups, and downright vindictiveness thrive in our town as the manure emanating from the voices of liars smears reputations. In a gang-like atmosphere, people are expected to choose sides on issues not for the merit of the issue but rather for the fear of joining the wrong feuding bloc and becoming labeled an "enemy."
If a core of evil in Portsmouth does exist, it must be exposed and eliminated; however, to destroy the entire town in the process is the greatest evil. German poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht once said, “Society cannot share a common communication system so long as it is split into warring factions." I believe it is so in our town. Communication is impossible without the cooperation of those who show tolerance toward each other.
I wonder if the muckrakers ever consider the individuals, families, and friends of those they attempt to discredit publicly? How about the effect on the youth of our area? How can any child feel good about his hometown when adults purposely plant seeds of distrust that the youth will eventually nurture and reap? An endless cycle of finger pointing and scapegoating has ruthlessly cut any dreams of revitalization to the quick. Why do teens long for the day they can relocate to Columbus, Cincinnati, or points more distant? Jobs, you say? The lack of responsibility in a united leadership, I say.
If, for no other reason, JUST STOP YOUR COMMENTS FOR THE SAKE OF COMMON DECENCY! People in positions of authority in our town are human beings constantly required to make decisions for the common good. People make mistakes; people will continue to be human; and people will continue to make mistakes. People who stoop to use public humiliation and dehumanizing tactics to discredit and to dismantle hard-working people are criminals themselves. They hide beneath the mask of "Portsmouth Prophet" or "Free Speech Reformer."
Please, stop feeding the egos of interest groups by believing their ridiculous comments and sickening remarks about the town and people of Portsmouth, Ohio. If we can't work together for the common good with the support of a positive, non-threatening public, we will continue to self-destruct. Many of the ingrates who speak loudest seek this goal. To take no action against the irresponsible is food for more mindless, unfounded dissent. I speak more about this on my blog at http://allthingswildlyconsidered.blogspot.com/.
Frank R. Thompson
2810 Brant Avenue
Ugly News - A Few Examples
Here is a DIRTY DOZEN (disguised to protect the innocent) actual comments about Portsmouth and its officials. These comments are among hundreds of unfounded claims anyone can readily find on the Internet.
1. "I'm assuming that among the minority who voted for...were all those husbands who do not trust their wives with credit cards."
2. "The...also homophobically suggested that...'s opponent had AIDS... a dirty trick that was followed up by another supporter of... who produced an incriminating dirty-tricks flyer that purported to be from... a gay-agenda opponent."
3. "The Crips, the Bloods, and the Folks have come to roost here permanently, it seems, and welcomed by... as the signs of the renewal of a southern Ohio cottage industry."
4. "Portsmouth has been going downhill... for about a half century; and it has been going downhill not just economically but also socially and morally, becoming a haven for drug dealers, prostitutes, and lawyers and developers who have gotten rich on government pork and preferential treatment."
5. "In his letter of resignation... said his previous experiences with... over the past 10 years, combined with actions and statements directed toward him and community development personnel by... and... supporters before, during and after the mayoral campaign, 'have convinced me that my future happiness, as well as my continued success as a development professional, will be best achieved by working elsewhere.'”
6. “I have told you before that I was taking a very serious look at the management of this government, and I found gross negligence and mismanagement,” ... said. “And I felt my responsibility from the start was to look at reining in the management of this government, and starting things on the proper track.”
7. "Are there too many... (sellouts) still on council that truly do not work for the people who placed them in office?"
8. "... is surrounded by criminals; criminals wearing badges and that’s dangerous to all citizens in Portsmouth. Things are becoming clearer. Citizens of Scioto County have been placed behind bars, reputations tarnished, businesses destroyed, all based on false information by law enforcement officials."
9."God helps those few who help themselves, but for everyone else in Portsmouth, especially the rich, there is the federal, state, county, and city government, and the Southern Ohio Growth Partnership, the Marting Foundation, and the Chamber of Commerce. Forget the traditional Republican goals of competition and profit; the Portsmouth economy is based heavily on collusion and pork."
10. "(Three people)... are just the latest examples of lapdogs who were first appointed, not elected, to city council."
11. "... is one of those who attends City Council meetings whenever he can and tries to get the mayor and the city auditor to return to the path of fiscal responsibility. He is one of that alleged minority that is accused by the motor mouth on ... (radio) and ... at the Portsmouth Daily Times of standing in the way of progress."
12. "... has covered up numerous crimes that have been brought to his attention. He uses Rule 28 to back up his actions especially when it comes to helping out public officials... (He) needs to either step up and stop the injustices of Rule 28 or resign his office."