Political debate can be frustrating.
People are free to disagree with me, of course, and I’m well aware that I rub nerves raw unnecessarily sometimes. (That’s something I’m working on, but self improvement is a lifelong endeavor.) Be that as it may, it ought to be clear that I’m trying to construct arguments based on evidence so people who come to differing conclusions can offer contrary evidence or explain where mine is incorrect. That’s how public debate is supposed to proceed.
The frustrating thing is how infrequently advocates for higher taxes even bother. If I’m “cherry picking” numbers or making demonstrably false statements, it ought to be relatively easy to prove it. Simply telling people to dismiss my arguments because the numbers are misleading is essentially admitting that you can’t be bothered to explain why. In short: “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”
This week, both the Newport Daily News and Sakonnet Times ran a letter by Tiverton resident Barbara Martin making a variety of unsubstantiated assertions about my motivations and intentions:
Make no mistake, Mr. Katz’s agenda for Tiverton is the agenda of the Koch brothers: Get rid of public education, destroy unions, eliminate any safety nets for the most vulnerable in our community, and reduce public safety funding.
Tiverton deserves better than to be the unwitting participants in an ideological experiment funded by the Koch brothers and carried out by Mr. Katz.
“Make no mistake,” indeed. Ms. Martin won’t tell anybody what evidence she has, but details and data are not needed when one has vague rumors. The old truism holds: When you can’t argue facts, attack the person.
One can only hope people are starting to see through the threats and rumors to the basic, straightforward goal of such people: They want to take more of their neighbors’ money to pay for their own priorities. With the exception of destroying public-sector unions, not a single thing she says I want to do is accurate.
The biggest fact that Martin leaves out, though, is that I’ve done nothing more than give people an option to vote contrary to her preferences. One suspects that’s really the unforgivable sin.