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Guest MINDSETTER™ Kenney: Political Doubletalk - Lies or Accepted as Truth?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

 

This past week the Republicans in the US Congress have ratcheted up their efforts to revisit their repeal and replace campaign promises of the last election regarding Obama-care. While most political pundits and unbiased observers understand is that this is nothing more than a political move designed to save face (and possibly their jobs) with their constituents back home, almost everyone involved will privately admit that this bill is extremely flawed and not in the best interest of many American citizens. The passage of this bill would certainly cause many Americans to lose their healthcare due to rising premiums, pre-existing conditions or lifetime caps and decimate the Medicare system. Congress, however, is under a deadline to pass “something/anything” before October 1. 

Doubletalk: The Republican senators interviewed on this stick to the party line that all but 4 states will get more money for healthcare under this bill and that states are better suited to make the decisions for their citizens than the federal government.

Truth: The Republican senators should state, we believe that Obama-care is doomed to fail. We’ve promised repeal/replace for 8 years now and have control of the Congress. We will be held accountable by our constituents if we do nothing so we are throwing money at the states and letting the state and local politicians take the heat. Apparently, the buck doesn’t stop with them on tough issues like this!

This type of doubletalk is often used in the public safety forum. Have you ever heard a politician say that they are making cuts to public safety even though it is going to put the public at greater risk? Of course not.

Doubletalk: Take Providence’s Mayor Elorza, for example. He recently shut down three fire companies on the East Side, two engine companies, and one ladder company. He and Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare stated that these permanent closures would have no effect on public safety. Really? Nine fewer firefighters per shift and all of the fire companies on the East Side are being eliminated and there’s no effect on public safety?

That is impossible. I guess they don’t consider increasing some response times from 2 minutes to 9 minutes in some of this area of any consequence. Try telling that to one of those residents who pay the most in taxes when their house burns down because of a delayed response. Try telling that to one of these taxpayers when their husband lies on the floor not breathing and instead of having CPR started within 3 minutes it takes around 10 minutes before someone is on the scene to begin. No circulation of oxygen to the brain for more than 6 minutes causes irreparable brain damage and brain death. These things are only a matter of time.

Truth: If they were to state that their public safety cuts would, of course, have an effect on public safety but they are willing to take that chance in order to save you tax money because the public safety budget is increasing at an alarming rate that would be the truth. These type of truthful assessments, however, would rarely justify their financial decisions and would certainly put themselves and their community in a position of liability if someone was hurt or killed.

Another example of doubletalk from Providence in the news this week was from Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare stating that he was:

Doubletalk: “Working to find the right fire chief expeditiously.”

Truth: We’ve exhausted all possible candidates who may have expressed interest, both internally and nationwide, but no one is interested (despite a $150K salary) in commanding(?) a large fire department in such utter disarray. We’ve had a few consider the challenge but when I explained that I would still be “in command” on a daily basis and that they would have no say in setting the new course of the department they quickly bowed out. We currently have no active applications on file.

I’ve been warning the general public, the mayor and the City Council of Mr. Pare’s crippling leadership on the once great and proud Providence Fire Department for over two years now but no one is willing to hold him accountable for his actions.

Apparently, we need to put our leaders under oath with the threat of perjury hanging over their heads for all public comments, interviews and press releases. This is not unique to Providence or to Rhode Island. This type of doubletalk seems to be the new normal. Think about it. How many times have you watched an interview or a speech and been 100% sure and aware that this “leader” is lying to all of us? And you know there will be absolutely no repercussions.

This is simply not right. We need to be able to expect, or to force, our leaders into telling us the truth so that a reasonable decision can be discussed and implemented based on facts – not their rhetoric.

Tom Kenney is a retired captain of the Providence Fire Department.

 

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