Thursday, June 14, 2007

I Was Wrong About Semler

After reading comments here and elsewhere, reading a great email from a friend, discussing it with my lovely spouse, and weighing my own feelings on the matter, I've realized that I'm wrong about Semler, and that Funk ought to do whatever he legally can to get her to step aside from the Parks Board.

My defense of the appointment centered on a flawed proposition. I argued that her position on border security is irrelevant. As stated, I still think that's essentially correct, but it ignores the fact that the Minutemen are not solely about border security. In her own statements, she's gone further and suggested that all immigration should be stopped. From what I've read, the Minutemen are a disturbingly nationalistic group with an anti-immigrant stance.

If they really were a group solely concerned with humanely stopping the illegal and dangerous (to all) flow of immigrants through the desert, I might have had a leg to stand on. But they aren't, and they're a bad enough group that I wonder if Semler really could serve effectively on the Board. Would she support bilingual information where appropriate? Would she support ethnic festivals?

Similarly, I was right in theory but wrong in practice when I argued that "If Funk withdraws every appointment he makes that has a questionable view, he's going to be subjecting himself to an impossible and unprecedented standard." Semler is not simply a person with a questionable view - she's a person whose beliefs are nationalistic in the sense that the Nazis were nationalistic. I'm correct in arguing that appointments shouldn't have to pass everyone's PC purity test, but I'm wrong in implying that belonging to the Minutemen is simply a failure to be PC.

Finally, I ignored the fact that, as a Parks Board member, she would be a leader in Kansas City. I don't insist on perfection from my leaders, but I do expect sanity. Just as I didn't feel well-represented by TIF pigs and millionaires, I shouldn't accept leadership whose views are repulsive. We deserve better voices.

So, thanks to the commenters who voiced their concerns and disagreement. I was wrong, and you were right, and you convinced me.

I'll resume being infallible with my next post.

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35 Comments:

Blogger Mark said...

Well spoken Dan. Too bad this post wasn't signed "Mark Funkhouser."

6/14/2007 7:49 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Damn awesome post Dan. I linked, I like and I wish I had you're awesome way with words on this one.

6/14/2007 9:19 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Dan - good judgement and sound reasoning.

And in my way of thinking the most important part of being loyal and supportive is encouraging Funk to do the right thing, consistent with your personal values.

We can compromise on small matters in deference to a larger cause, but we should never abandon our core values, or rationalize them away for the sake of supporting an individual in office.

And there certainly is no dishonor in being wrong - dishonor lies in knowing you're wrong and not recognizing or admiting it.

6/14/2007 9:21 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

Good post. I'm glad you came to your senses, although I wasn't one of your commenters earlier.

6/14/2007 9:43 AM  
Blogger les said...

Oh, man, blogger license down the crapper. If admissions like this must be made, it's at least 3 weeks later as a tag line to a post on a different subject.

6/14/2007 9:45 AM  
Anonymous lifelongcitizen said...

Nice statement, based on calm reflection. Now the real test of F's leadership will be if he has a similar response or if his resentment based arrogance will continue to drive his responses to people's interest in what the Mayor does. Will he chose knowledge over ignorance or will he stay committed to the "I know what's right, so don't question me" approach. He better learn that governance and leadership aren't all about him, they are about the City and it's citizens.

6/14/2007 9:52 AM  
Anonymous the nitwit said...

Dan,
Let's face it, we all knew I couldn't stay away. Your blog is too much fun. But don't worry, I won't rub your nose in this one. I actually wanted to give you props for finally owning up to your lack of perfection. Welcome to reality.

Now, if our dear mayor could join you by making a similar mea culpa, this city might finally get somewhere. Arrogance mixed with ignorance breeds horrible public policy, and that's exactly what we're seeing right now.

6/14/2007 12:57 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Like many others, I loved the idea of having a non-politician in the mayor's office for a change. However, stuff like this shows that he does need at least a little bit of political advice - even if it's just to deal with office politics on a city-wide scale.

A quick Google search turns up lots of info on Frances, so it wouldn't have been hard to vet her. So I wonder which is worse... Did they vet her and not care that she would alienate a huge part of city? Or did they do not take the time to properly research such an important appointment?

6/14/2007 1:05 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

OK, so the Funk is going to dig in his heels on keeping Semler.

Here are the facts:

(1) Once you recognize that 99% of the hispanic community:

- does consider the Minuteman association so reprehensible and offensive they will protest en masse;

- does consider the appointment a slap in the face

(2) and once you recognize that, in absolute numbers, there are more anglo (middle-of-the-roaders, and liberals) citizens offended than hispanic voters...

(3) A majority of city council is outraged calling for her resignation;

You could conclude there is SIGNIFICANT outrage citywide over this appointment.

Now, what's so special about Semler that warrants her service on the park board, in the face of the universal outrage?

We all know the answer - there's nothing special about her, her skills or her experience.

There are about 100 people ready willing and capable of serving on the parks board that could as good if not a better job than Semler.

Semler isn't so damn good the Parks board can't live without her.

Those are the facts.

NOTE TO FUNKHOUSER: You may personally think this is a minor issue, and that starting a dialogue with the latino community will have a calming effect.

That's wrong thinking. This is a big deal to way to many people, and the message you are sending - OF INSENTIVITY AND SELFISHNESS - will do you and your administration great harm, and will materially, adversely impact your ability to get the job you were elected to do, done.

ANOTHER NOTE TO FUNK: To say it another way, you're not listening to the regular folks, and the message you're sending is that you will only act on behalf of regular folks when it is convenient for you.

6/14/2007 2:02 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

OK, he's taking the Civic, as well as hanging on to Semler.

These are two issues that Funk considers to be minor, and in the scheme of things maybe they are.

And Funk is a little naive of things, considering he was an auditor for 17 years. I can understand that.

But small issues and small decisions send BIG messages.

And as a predictive model for the larger decisions to come, these recent decisions do not bode well.

This is not the behavior of someone who aspires to a second term.

6/14/2007 2:55 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Am I out of my mind or did I just agree with everything Mainstream just wrote?!?!?

Maybe both, still good stuff.

6/14/2007 5:24 PM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

It's interesting to note that Deb Hermann called Funk last sat night to discourage him from appointing Semler. Herman is against Semler, but voted against the city council resolution this afternoon.

So, there are actually 10 councilpeople that don't want Semler on the Parks Board.

Dan, am I ranting?

6/14/2007 5:26 PM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

So, everyone is going to crucify this woman because she belongs to a group which several people believe is racist and even dangerous. So, let's think about this for a "minute". Show me ONE instance where the ORGANIZATION Minutemen used any weapons or were violent. Show me ONE instance where they THE ORGANIZATION were blatantly racist against all Mexicans, legal or not. The examples above are not representative of the organization.

Now, if this woman is racist, that's another story, but simply belonging to an organization that believes in a sovereign nation is not racist.

I'm going to fight against (and have fought against) the Senate bill that deals with the border and illegal aliens today and I'm here to declare I am not racist. In fact, I have a biracial granddaughter who is more precious to me than anything in this world.

I don't know this Semler woman but I think painting her with this broad brush better be backed up with facts on her character, lest the lynching may be regrettable.

6/14/2007 8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan, you said:

"Semler is not simply a person with a questionable view - she's a person whose beliefs are nationalistic in the sense that the Nazis were nationalistic. "

Please back this up with some proof or quotes. Comparing her 'beliefs' to 'Nazi's' is slanderous without proof.

6/14/2007 10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan,
You just went up a few points in my book. I kinda feel bad for being a dick in my posts. I really like Funk and had signs and donated to his campaign. I just hope he comes around like you do. I honestly think he could do a good job.

6/14/2007 10:48 PM  
Blogger CCP Admin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6/15/2007 6:18 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous 10:01 - Given you odd use of way too many apostrophes (or are they accent marks??), I'm forced to conclude that you are French.

6/15/2007 6:19 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Travel -

Quick response to your comments: I think it's not really about Frances Semler. It's about Funk's actions. And the Minutemen can be and are considered an extremist group by many reasonable people. You don't have to shoot at or kill people to be extremist.

Long winded answer: Semler is probably a nice person with strongly held beliefs which she certainly has a right to hold and to advocate for.

However, her appropriateness as a public office holder (appointee) is what is in question here - the judgment Funk made to nominate her.

Even the most casual of observers can conclude she has very public and a fairly extreme anti-Mexican set of views. I won't reiterate the details, but it's conclusive.

Travel, you may consider them reasonable , and you may think they have nothing to do with Parks admin. And you're right in your way of thinking, and I understand that.

But there are a whole bunch of people out there that think very differently than you, that consider it offensive, and consider it a show of disrespect for their community. A Powerpoint presentation, or anything else, won't convince them otherwise. Respect is a powerful and important force in politics, life, self-esteem and human nature.

When 9 of 12 (actually 10 of 12) city council people immediately condemn the choice, the entire Latino community protests it, and a whole bunch of us Anglo's get offended, you have to believe there's an issue here.

So with all of the available talent in Kansas City, why drive a wedge into our community with this appointment when there are a bunch of other qualified people to serve on the Parks board?

Frances Semler can go about her life and advocate for her causes, and the Funk can continue to bring our community together by focusing on substantive city issues.

I know you feel as if Semler is being punished for views she has every right to hold. But when someone enters public life their beliefs and stances have every right to be scrutinized by the community. I believe Frances Semler was done a disservice by being nominated in the first place.

And by the way - it took about a nanosecond to conclude, after hearing about the Minutemen affiliation, that this appointment was a non-starter.

Her appointment is very unfortunate for everybody involved, and has hurt Frances, Funk, and the people of Kansas City.

I hope better judgment is exercised by this administration in the future.

6/15/2007 8:21 AM  
Anonymous travelingal said...

Mainstream, actually very well said. I don't entirely agree, but I understand your argument.

It will be interesting to see how the Mayor deals with this.

If I were her, I wouldn't want to endure the criticism. I would make a choice as to which passion I would lend myself to.

6/15/2007 9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan, French and Nazi. You being yellow makes it all come together, like a stew

6/15/2007 11:49 AM  
Anonymous mainstream said...

Hmmmmmm. *looks to the side, then looks up at the ceiling*

It's awful quiet here, I think it's time for a beer. A Lunar sounds good. And it's gotta be 5:00 somewhere....

6/15/2007 4:04 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Are you accusing me of being Chinese, anonymous? Racist!

6/15/2007 5:30 PM  
Anonymous hereandgone said...

Mark is not a politician... yet. Man, he needs to learn FAST. Too many "f" ups. And please note that Gloria Squitiro is the one who PUSHED hard for her new friend to be on this highly visible board. She vetted this woman prior to the announcement and concluded that the Minutemen Organization was okay by her. Semler is just carrying out some of the tasks set forth by her group, "to lobby local governments and officials"
Nice job Francis.
Yes, she needs to go, but I doubt that she will.
And speaking of elected officials, a new snake in the grass on council is Sharon Saunders Brooks. She was "sick" my arse! Her boyfriend Linwood got a plum appointment as did her dear friend a new member of the Parks Board. Francis may be way in over her head and I will not lift a finger to save her.

6/17/2007 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you see http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=56184 ?

6/17/2007 1:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you don't consider "The Race" a racist organization??
How on earth they are given a soapbox and considered mainstream is beyond comprehension.

If a national Arian or Nazi organization was given such support by the mainstream media. Everyone would be in an uproar.

No Dan, I think your view of The Minutemen is skewed.

Apparently if you believe in the U.S. Constitution as written in 1776, and believe our own sovereignty is more important than any other issue, that makes you a racist.

Someone please check the water!!

10/12/2007 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a AMERIPHOBIC! Saying what you said about the fine people in the Minutemen, and especially Mrs. Semler, was flat out RACIST. It was also bigoted and intolerant. I am sure you know all about the meaning of those words. You may not know what the meaning of the word 'is' is! But you know those words. Your intolerance and racism have no place in a civilized society.

10/12/2007 6:02 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Anonymous -

It's hilarious that you posted my words on the Freeper site, along with your insane rant. I hope, but doubt, that any visitors here from that site can read a little better than you can.

The Minutemen are about a whole lot more than controlling the border, and Semler herself proposes stopping all immigration. There's a huge difference between white supremacy and border security, and Semler leans toward the former.

10/13/2007 10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan, just what are the MM? Examples please. Not just empty racist rhetoric. You also manage to insult many who frequent the FR site. Again you show your intolerance and ignorance.

10/13/2007 5:11 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

You don't know what the MM are, and you accuse me of being ignorant? Read up a little on them, and you'll see that they are a hate group led by people who support violence. Even our local media star, Semler, has proposed shutting down all immigration.

As for insulting the people who frequent the Free Republic - I'm kind of okay with that.

10/14/2007 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan, I know what the MM do. I wanted YOU to supply facts to backup your accusations of violence and hate. Just the facts. Not EMPTY racist rhetoric. Give me links showing just 1 act of violence by a MM member. Just 1. Where is the hate? Just because they are trying to get the Federal government to abide by their oaths of office to uphold the US Constitution and the laws of the US?
I would bet Mrs. Semler only wants to shut down all immigration only until we can get a handle on it and stop ILLEGAL immigration. Could you show me her statements IN CONTEXT regarding her views?
As for being ok insulting people who have a different view than your own. That is why people can't discuss facts and policy. Since its ok to insult the other view, reasonable discourse is nearly impossible.
That is why I am trying to engage you here. I just want you to back up your accusations.

10/14/2007 11:28 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Look, anonymous, let's back up a few notches here. Go back, read your entry from 10/12, 6:02 and then tell me about insults. Tell me about rational discourse. Tell me about engaging somebody.

You want to come here and try to assign me homework assignments. No freaking way. I've read plenty about the Minutemen, and I've seen their racist dribble. I read what Semler said, and I'm not going to go spend my time digging up crap again just to satisfy your lazy curiosity.

Tell you what. Go back and research the immigration controls placed on European immigrants in the 19th century. Do a little compare/contrast paper, addressing the restrictions on immigrants trying to get in today. For extra credit, go back and find out what language my Aunt Till spoke, and explain why she was a lousy American.

10/14/2007 2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just as I thought. All talk, no facts.

10/14/2007 3:45 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Come back when you have your homework done.

10/14/2007 4:54 PM  
Anonymous sue said...

I wonder why you have not went to the Minute Men web site and read what they are about? Don't you think that you should do more investigating on your own and draw your own conclusion. I don't think you have all the facts.

10/14/2007 6:25 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I've been there, and then I've read quotations from their leaders, and what other organizations I respect have to say about them, and what Semler herself has said. I've also considered what it takes for someone to focus their energies so intently on keeping people out of American society.

Truly, if they were really about keeping the border safe, I wouldn't have much problem with them - especially if they were equally as obsessed with keeping the pasty white people from Canada our as they are the brown people from Mexico. But there is so much more to them . . .

Like Semler arguing in favor of keeping out all immigration . . .

10/14/2007 8:31 PM  

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