Who are the Chicken Littles and Demagogues in Coral Gables?

In the Mayor’s State of the City Report (may found on the city’s website) he begins by remarks that he is not a chicken little (of the “the sky is falling” family) and he urges us all to not be ones either. Fair enough.  He seems to be intensely aware of exaggerated and unfounded negativism in the community about the future of the city.

Also, later in the speech, the mayor evokes  his dislike for  the”ongoing cycle of incivility, negativity, and disrespectful actions and insulting sarcasm” and raises his concern for the “demagogue who ‘agitates’ the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms and kindles the animosity of one against the other.”

The mayor’s reaction is similar to those often repeated by politicians and leaders of all political persuasion who suffer strong public criticism by the press, although protected by the First Amendment–perhaps one of the single greatest achievement of the Founding Fathers–one of the great and exceptional foundations of our democracy.

Unpleasant as it is to the mayor, city management and citizens alike, public speech is protected for us all and, even in its most unpleasant form, should be taken as part and parcel of elected office and leaders, especially in these times of economic, financial and social crisis.

Of course, we are all free to defend ourselves and show that the press is wrong in its reports.

“The (Blogging) People” – NYTimes.com

Worth reading Thomas Friedman’s account of the China blogosphere–what a powerful and expansive mode of communicating at all levels. Much depends on leaders understanding the value of communicating with this wider population.

“China for the first time has a public sphere to discuss everything affecting Chinese citizens,” explained Hu Yong, a blogosphere expert at Peking University. “Under traditional media, only elite people had a voice, but the Internet changed that.” He added, “We now have a transnational media. It is the whole society talking, so people from various regions of China can discuss now when something happens in a remote village — and the news spreads everywhere.” But this Internet world “is more populist and nationalistic,” he continued. “Many years of education that our enemies are trying to keep us down has produced a whole generation of young people whose thinking is like this, and they now have a whole Internet to express it.”

via Op-Ed Columnist – Power to the (Blogging) People – NYTimes.com.