The answer to John Prigge and Terry Gavin? Ignore them!

The answer to John Prigge and Terry Gavin? Ignore them!

So there I was, all set to take aldermen John Prigge and Terry Gavin on regarding their blatantly disrespectful May 28 Elgin city council behavior, when a politically astute friend completely reframed the impending conversation. elgin city hall
Unable to fathom their endgame, my query was something along the lines of, “I can’t figure out what they’re trying accomplish. They can’t possibly think that kind of conduct helps their conservative cause.”
And just like a Zen master, he immediately responded, “Maybe they think it does help.”
And just like that proverbial bolt out of the blue, enlightenment was mine. Had I unleashed those verbal dogs, it would’ve been exactly what this not-so-dynamic city council duo wanted.
But before you provide me with the opportunity to explain my particular version of satori, since we won’t be spending any more time on their immature antics, should you choose to do so, you can view the proceedings for yourself. Simply follow this link and set the slider about an hour in.
You see, the mistake I made with Messrs. Gavin’s and Prigge’s general mien was believing their insistent dissent to be a means to some greater political end. But armed with that amazing new insight, I realize it’s not. To them, divisiveness and disrespect actually is the end!
You can gain government board status in two ways. Kane County Board Member Kurt Kojzarek ascribes to the first, which includes speaking only when you really have something to say, always attempting to iron out differences in private, and understanding when a vote is lost and letting it go.
The problem with that method is the results take time.
Ah! but the fastest way to dominate a political body is to be disruptive by dissenting at every turn. Then the others will immediately resort to adjusting what they say, they’ll get fed up and fight back, and the debate will revolve around the dissenters and not the issues.
And that’s exactly what happened last night. At a time when Rosamaria Martinez should’ve had her moment in the sun, Prigge and Gavin insisted upon making themselves the center of attention.
And sure enough, the rest of the council took the bait by sequentially firing back at the pair. Even mild mannered Mayor Dave Kaptain got more irate than I’ve ever seen him before and Gavin and Prigge were positively glowing in all their self-important glory.
So what’s the answer? Don’t respond to them!
Because when the debate becomes the end, you can’t win. You only feed the dynamic by engaging in it. If the “liberal council faction” suddenly agreed with everything Aldermen Prigge and Gavin put forth, they’d either change their minds or find something else to bitch about.
There are two great quotes that truly apply here. Mark Twain warned us to, “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” And then George Bernard Shaw said, “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”
Trust me, I know how difficult it is to simply stay silent, but the next time Terry Gavin says something silly like “speaking for the council” or John Prigge accuses you of “extreme political hubris,” (though he is an expert on the subject) simply let them have their say, ignore it, and move on.
Deprived of their center of attention status, they’ll ratchet up their behavior and get worse in the short term, but that’s exactly the point. If you have the patience to give these folks enough rope, they will always hang themselves.
You also have to have faith that the majority of your constituents are smart enough to see through their act. Because the only other option is getting in on it, and then the voters really will start to wonder.
 

0 thoughts on “The answer to John Prigge and Terry Gavin? Ignore them!

  1. When I sat in the Council chamber audience last night and witnessed Councilman Prigge’s diatribe, I was shocked and horrified. Right in front of me were Rosa’s children, elderly parents, friends, and leaders of the Hispanic community. They were shamed in his allegations that her qualifications were moot. That she didn’t deserve it. That her appointment DIVIDED the community. He skipped the cake & reception downstairs. Later, he votes against a contract regarding Diversity. Later, he calls his fellow council members WATERBOARDING the citizens.
    Terry Gavin is a more complex person. Sometimes, he does great work serving the community. Other times, his opinions or ignorance of an issue are troubling. I balance the help he gave volunteering to put up the Bison fence versus his opposition to electric cars because they “cause more pollution”. Terry honestly tries to help.
    My earliest political memory is watching Jimmy Carter win the presidential election. Gerald Ford called Mr. Carter to concede the election and congratulate his opponent. Every 4 years since, I’ve seen the same thing. You can call it good sportsmanship, or being kind, or reaching out to unify the people, or supporting Democracy by respecting the political office, or being civil to facilitate compromise & good governance. I like concession speeches.
    That basic courtesy is important to me. I think it is important to society.
    Why did he do this? I know what many in the crowd were muttering, and it wasn’t the preference of elections versus appointments. It was bigotry. It was recognition that if 5% of the “Citizens” listen & approve of these outrageous statements, then the low voter turnout will keep him in office and perhaps propel him higher.
    Sadly, we do have a small minority in our community that embrace the hate speech. It is easy for them to embrace it when cloaked in code words. It’s a game, with a nod & a wink about the stated arguments (however contrived) versus the real agenda of keeping certain peoples down.
    Other than old age, I don’t think there is anything much we can do regarding that demographic. My hope is that Rosa can work to bring more residents out to vote. That’s the only way to fix this mess.

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