What I am reading: Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland by Jonathan M. Metzel
What I am listening to: Ten Percent Happier Podcast: The Case for “Doing Nothing “in a Time of Crisis
What I am watching: Comet Neowise from our newly and illegally built pandemic “pool desk”
Top 20 Reasons #localgov Leaders Were Inspired to Say W.T.F.
CONSPIRACY THEORY EDITION
Across the country, it is clear that facts, data, and science are no longer relevant, especially when they aren’t allowed to do what they want to do. You know, the facts about the novel coronavirus and its impact to date, the science of pandemics, and the COVID-19 data; those little bitty things are hampering some people’s way of life. These truths are evident because the pleas of local leaders, the curse words of government social media managers, and the countless requests of health authorities and doctors stating “WTF” (wear the face mask) are dismissed and labeled a conspiracy. We have reached a point in our country’s history where civic duty and humanity are no longer enough to sway many into making personal sacrifices of any sort – not for themselves, not for their neighbors, and not for their cities. And just like in 1918, masks are now considered an egregious violation of one’s own… wait, what’s that word again? Oh yes, a violation of one’s own…
L I B E R T I E S.
We are in the epicenter of something strange here folks, really strange, perhaps even award-winning. Quite possibly, we are part of the most bizarre experiment of all time. Are we winning? Is this even a competition?
While many Americans are not sure WTF to believe, we have decided to go with the conspiracy theorists and those fake news people, if they even exist. It is indeed an enormous conspiracy. The largest to have been conspired by a group of conspirators. We want to be on the right side of history when this is all said and done.
It is probably time someone fesses up to this whole debacle. As of yesterday, the President has had an about-face and is now actively suggesting WTF to his people. It’s unheard of, this level of conspiracy and complexity and back and forth, yes or no, don’t do this, who did that, I never said that. We can’t keep up anymore.
Who could have planned, tracked, and measured such a complex web of strategic actions and overall goals between so many diverse stakeholder groups and agencies? Whoever is behind WTFever is going on, we applaud your efforts. It can’t be the feds or the states. China and Russia have already denied any involvement (that was all fake news). Where do we cast blame? Who could achieve a feat as grand as this filled with such epic fiascos? Do humans even have the capability to mastermind this collective sigh of WTF 2020 heard round the world? Who, or shall we say what, is responsible for this type of innovative thinking?
Wait a moment. They are Fine. It’s fine. Everything is fine. A key player in the government space was not mentioned as suspect-Fake news? Back to them. Who is this group? Rumor says they are the most dedicated and dutiful of public servants. They serve in places where everyone can participate in their government. We know who is responsible here, don’t we? Has anyone received a daily summary report from that local government group? Have you ever heard of the engaged local government leaders?
Well WTF. The plot is entirely too thick at this point in the pandemic; it is starting to become more painful than most could endure. Honestly, not even the finest of #localgov leaders could have made this American nightmare a reality that our founding fathers could have predicted. But the founding fathers aren’t here, and it is past time to be transparent and open and honest with the American people, the people we proudly serve. Navigating the hidden inner workings of the alleged Covid-19 pandemic is painful. We have no idea who’s on first or if the high school kids can even play baseball this year. #localgov is tired of this charade and ready to forget about our time spent in the pandemic trenches. It is time to end this insanity, this never-ending merry go round of government shenanigans. This is our last call for public meetings and community festivals; we are ready to stop WTF 2020. The mistruths, fake news, and lies cannot continue, even if they belong to us. We admit it; WTF is our conspiracy.
You see, our duty as public servants is to protect the health and general welfare of the people we swore to protect. But what everyone forgot is that we too are American people, and quite frankly, we were tired of the government and the people’s shit. We knew the benefits and risks of a WTF campaign. We schemed together and activated our powers. We sent the novel coronavirus to disrupt our economies, our children’s educations, essential government services, our poor excuse for a housing market, and, of course, our fragile healthcare system, without so much as putting the pandemic on a ballot. History-making scandals are always full of surprises, and this is no different. If you must be privy to everything we do, we did all because we were inspired and not because we want to be Shepherds. And not because we must protect and serve, Knope. We were encouraged to say WTF because…
Our COVIDprehensive 2019 Plan had 20 Pandemic reasons to guide as our road map. And now, here we are. We collectively stood up against state and federal leaders and took the future of our lives into our own hands and said WTF, man! If anyone was keeping track, our metrics are horrific. Not to mention the plan was permanently left sitting on the shelf once the COVID started hitting the fan. With no accountability or policy implementation to speak of, this is us America. We won some tests, and we lost some tests, but who needs tests anyways? Once upon a strange time, we the engaging local government leaders inspired to conspire and then today when we ran out of WTF’s to give, all we had left to show for it all are these:
TOP 20 Reasons #LocalGov leaders Were Inspired to Say WTF:
#1 Economic Development = WINNING. Alcohol Delivery IS sustainable economic growth and a high return on investment if we don’t say so ourselves. “Allowing for alcohol delivery will help consumers during the Covid-19 outbreak in the short term, but will also help boost economic activity and increase competition and options for consumers in the long term,” according to a spring article from Craft Brewing Business.com CHEERS! WTF NOT?
# 2 We are problem solvers. We needed a way to deflect attention from ourselves and throw blame around the room. Sometimes while serving in an official capacity or interacting with the general public, the inappropriate and potentially offensive internal thoughts we have with ourselves slip out. The risk assessment team identified this problem as an imminent threat to public servant safety. It was time to bring solutions to the table. WTF for the WIN!
#3 No more dealing in stupidity.
We are done dealing with stupid. Now we can easily spot it and avoid it. We can pretend we don’t see it and keep on walking, or simply state the dutiful abundance of caution we must take in order to protect the health of ourselves, our fellow public servants and our communities and keep on walking. We don’t have to deal with #covidiots like this gas station clerk; thanks be to WTF!
#4 Scream inside your heart, please… We have been screaming inside our hearts just like these lovely amusement park executives on a Japanese roller coaster. We scream inside our hearts during citizen comments, at our cities public facilities, and when approached by the citizenry outside of working hours in any type of retail or non-government setting. This technique has helped us tremendously over the years. It’s about time the rest of the general public learned to keep some of their emotions inside. We just couldn’t even anymore with the complaining and whining and social media keyboard evangelizing. Please don’t talk to us anymore about your feelings—just STFU, SIYH, and WTF.
#5 Public service leaves little time for personal care. Effective immediately through 2021, essential staff (we are all essential) shall not be concerned about applying makeup, shaving, waxing, or even touching our faces. Put forth no additional effort as you head to work, and use those extra five minutes to give yourself a daily pep talk! Wait. WTF does this even matter?
#6 We will no longer be denied the right to bare our flare-– in fact, flare is now mandatory. Many of us have had to don drab municipal employee uniforms or have been forced into a public-facing appearance box that frowns upon flare of any kind. We stopped, collaborated, and listened to our collective voices. We demanded that our individuality be recognized and respected. We would no longer be controlled by outdated, poorly constructed, and insensitive “dress code standards.” Our comfort, creativity, and individuality are enjoying this about-face expression, and we all agree, WTF.
#7 WE LOVE SWAG. We would do anything for Swag! And hopefully, ELGL gets some WTF swag! SWOON.
#8 We are the honey badgers. We honestly don’t care anymore. We are the protectors of the people and the authorities under the law. Your opinion formed off of a friend’s cousin’s Facebook wall is irrelevant. Indeed, it is none of our concern what you think. We just don’t care, not even a little bit. Please do not tell us what you will or won’t do on social media or any of our communication channels because we will arrest you for breaking the law. We are the government, we have rules for a reason, and you must abide by them, they are not optional. And while we are at it, please know that some things are also non-negotiable, like arguing about said laws. We will no longer bargain with citizens or make exceptions because of how you feel or what you think when our public health and safety are at risk, so just WTF.
#9 Leslie Knope. We’d do anything for more Leslie Knope. And even though it was a million years ago in pandemic time, we needed that Parks & Rec reunion in April. Just thinking about it all these months later, our WTF excitement can not be contained, Knope, no way.
#10 The Community Story.As public servants, we are sometimes just guests in the communities we serve. We must remember to remain faithful to the stories that the city has to tell, not the story we want the city to create. Sometimes when we do our jobs well, magic happens. That magic of citizens owning their stories and shouting your city name on the 5’oclock news, WTF with that kind of magic. The story was so magical that only the folks from Parks & Rec can elevate the citizen’s voices. These voices are well versed in several things, including plandemics, hoaxes, military protocols, 5G attacks, temperature checks, body scans, and professional career choices we won’t mention in front of the children. This Parks & Rec COVID-19 remix may be the best citizen-driven engagement story ever told, WTF. (GO AHEAD, WATCH IT AGAIN)
#11 Liar, Liar! Pants on Fire! We hadn’t talked publicly about our Underoos since kindergarten class. We figured it couldn’t hurt us to remind everyone a few of the things we learned there. Our citizens and our elected officials should know well that everything they needed to know they learned in Kindergarten. Our issue is that they didn’t get the hall pass telling them that they cannot continue to act like a 6-year-old indefinitely. WTF, just put on your big kid pants and tell us the truth.
#12 Nuisances No More! We can no longer respond to citizen’s complaints about roadside litter or send our trained enforcement experts to play that kindergarten teacher between bickering neighbors. We can’t possibly control the unruly lousy behavior, let alone effectively prevent or manage the idiocy of some of the outright mean and nasty people who call our cities home. Thanks to WTF Karen and Ken memes, the elected officials now understand what we are now dealing with.
#13 The Golden Rule. It’s all we ever really wanted, some peace, some quiet. The WTF #shutup and #maskup campaigns cover the loudmouths just long enough for us to enjoy a split second of silence.
#14 ROI & Cross-Training. Aging infrastructure needs, technology voids, and the staggering rates with which local government leaders are reaching retirement age are just a few reasons we knew we had no choice but to do everything we could to save our boy, Jack. We needed to demonstrate the return on the taxpayer’s investment while implementing an organizational-wide cross-training pilot program that would appeal to our diverse and tech-savvy social media base. We knew we could save Jack! WTruff Ruff Ruff.
# 15 Wal-Mart owed us. It’s about damn time Wal-Mart assumes responsibility and helps control the People of their stores. Local government is sick of taking all the blame for what happens between Karen and Ken on Aisle 4 when the non-tax generating complimentary RV parking lot guests try to purchase the last roll of Charmin. Cities have been suffering the loss of value per acre that Wal-Mart brings everywhere it goes. And it has fiscally bankrupted community pride and neighborhood value systems across America’s farmlands and through our rivers and valleys for far too long. Enough is enough. We were not seeking retribution; this was about shared responsibility (and shock and awe). Good luck, Wal-Mart. Your social team is off to a good start, but have they met the People of Wal-Mart? Let us know how it goes at Wal-Mart stores this week. WTF.
#16 Poker Faces. We will no longer try and hide our facial expressions during public meetings. The restraint is too much to muster in this day and age. Case in point, I serve on a city-appointed board in my community. Our first Historic Design Standards Commission held a ZOOM meeting. Almost immediately after the event, I received a message from our wonderful Mayor saying…. After fifteen years of public service, it is entirely too difficult to remain stoic during public meetings, especially with cameras on 24/7. We are over trying to hide our smiles, looks of confusion, or grimacing smirks because frankly, most of the time, we just want to make the meetings, and the council questions stop. WTF provided us another winning government solution.
All kidding aside, let’s get serious for just a moment:
#17 Look for the helpers. Because humanity never ceases to amaze us. Sometimes we can’t hide the tears or the looks on our faces, despite our best attempts. During a crisis, we look for the helpers. You can always find them. We must see through the stress, damage, and chaos that a crisis causes. We need to remind each other that we are all humans, and we all have something to contribute. One such helper, the Kansas farmer who mailed a mask to New York State, reminds us why we do what we do. Local government leaders see the helpers and the moments that inspire them to lead and motivate them to get up and do it again every day. Helpers helping. Neighbors being neighborly. Leaders leading by example. That’s WTF we need, that is what we strive to provide in our cities, and that is what we as citizens should demand from our democracy.
#18 Innovation. Can I get an AMEN? We knew all our local governments needed was a little WTF plandemic to zoom, zoom, zoom their way into the 21st century! We bypassed decades of technology advances in no time flat. The ingenuity of our small businesses is incredible! Simply put, god bless our educators and school systems for what they did this Spring and for what lies ahead. Thanks to the life-saving data dashboards and front line medical research. And let’s not let momentum get stalled because the long overdue #antiracism response to the cries for justice that are finally causing action, is just the beginning. There are countless calls for welfare and social reform and innovators bringing change to the forefront. Lastly, the innovation on the streets and our code books transformed empty highways and parking lots. We know that we are just getting started, that local government is full of possibilities. Let us remember how to embrace, understand, support, and cultivate innovation and the innovators to infinity and beyond. WTF is genuinely the spark we needed to move antiquated concrete roadblocks out of our way.
#19. Love, Local, Level. We needed some time to reflect on our values and understand what is truly important to ourselves, our families, our organizations, our neighborhoods, and our cities. We needed a fresh perspective on our local businesses and our communities, and so did our residents. We must build pride, make connections, and tear down the broken and faulty systems that got us here so we can level the playing fields for all our citizens. We must also make an effort to stop and smell the roses more often, WTF or not.
#20 United We Stand, Divided We Fall. We are all connected through our service to communities and our passion for local government. We know how to inspire team spirit and build community pride. We believe in a cause greater than ourselves. We value what we do and understand why we do it. We serve a purpose greater than ourselves, the common good. And finally, we know how much stronger working together can make us.
Before the revolutionary war, John Dickinson wrote: “Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all! By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall!” During the Civil War, the Union Army stood up for those who couldn’t stand up for themselves to not let division take hold. Labor unions joined together for a united front and stood in solidarity because they knew their collective voice could move the needle in a way their single voices could not. Internationally during WWII, these words stood not only for patriotism, but they represented connection and a common cause amongst the Allied nations across the globe.
This week as we continue to follow the news in Portland, I can almost hear those words coming from the Wall of Moms and the Dad’s with leaf blowers. It makes one wonder, what do those words, United We Stand, Divided we Fall, stand for? What meaning do they hold for each of us during a worldwide pandemic? And what action will we take to overcome the economic and social crisis facing each of our organizations? What will the history books say about our collective response? How can we rewrite our future?
All joking and facemasks aside, WTF is happening to our democracy?
What is the role of local government leaders at this juncture in our nation’s history? What is your city going to do if border patrol agents arrive in unmarked vehicles? What about when your definition of public safety is at odds with the federal troops knocking at your community doorstep? What then Portland? What then Kansas City? Seems like United We would Stand. Divided We could Fall.