Tis the season ... for civil discourse!

This is follow-up to the latest op-ed written by State Rep Warren Kampf (R-157). In the article, Kampf is calling for an end to uncivil discourse.  Kampf uses a couple of examples in his editorial of uncivil speech, including Dariel Jamieson’s recent letters to the editors.  Although Kampf does not name Jamieson directly, if you have been following the local news, his reference is clear.  Ms. Jamieson has written two letters to the editor which appeared in the Main Line Suburban criticizing Kampf for not voting to support the recently passed transportation funding bill.

It's not Jamieson's right to voice her opinion on Kampf's voting record on the transportation bill that is the issue.  In the initial letter to the editor, Jamieson made  public accusation that Kampf took the Grover Norquist no-tax pledge when he did not.   Jamieson then compounded the already difficult situation by writing a second letter to the editor about Kampf and the transportation bill without retracting nor taking responsibility for the inaccurate accusations contained in her first letter. Civil discourse means to engage in conversation intended to enhance understanding – personal attacks and lies are wrong and diminish the value of the argument.

In his latest op-ed, Kampf does not say Jamieson’s actions were politically motivated.  However, when you write an editorial attacking a Republican State Representative and sign the letter as chair of the local Democratic Committee (as Jamieson did), it is not a stretch to come to that conclusion. For those keeping score – Dariel Jamieson has now written two editorials attacking Warren Kampf in the last couple of weeks. (Click here to read Kampf's response to Jamieson's initial letter)  Here’s hoping that Jamieson does not feel compelled to write a third op-ed on the same topic!

Beyond the uncivil discourse created by Jamieson’s letters, I am troubled that her actions as the political party chair place Murph Wysocki and Mark Freed, the newly elected Democratic Tredyffrin Township supervisors, in an awkward position less than a month before they take office.  Wysocki and Freed will join the five sitting Republican supervisors on the Board and this ‘war of words’ from Jamieson going on in the background cannot be helpful to them.  

When you accept the role of president or chair of an organization, and act publically in that capacity, you need to ensure that your voice is representative of the majority of those that you are elected to serve – are Jamieson’s letters to the editor representative of TTDEMS members opinions?  I hope not.

In closing, I echo Kampf’s words, ” … every citizen and every elected official – would be better served saying what we must in a way that achieves civil discourse …”  


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157Resident December 14, 2013 at 04:23 PM
What was so uncivil? I don't get the op-ed's point. The TTDEM's are a partisan organization. Jamieson is the head of that organization. I don't think there is any question that she represents the majority view of the Tredyffrin Democrats. Isn't Pattye Benson the same person who called out the Tredyffrin Police and Township Manager for threatening and harassing her? As it turns out, those allegations where unfounded. I found that post to be quite uncivil. And yet here is the same person calling somebody else out for being uncivil. I don't recall Mr. Kampf being that civil when he was a Tredyffrin Supervisor. As for partisan ship, he is on the far right of his party and has never shown himself to be the least bit bi-partisan. Here's what we have. A blogger who is desperate for relevancy and an elected official who is one of the most least genuine and least sincere politicians out there giving the rest of us lessons in civility. I'll pass.
Amused December 15, 2013 at 06:51 PM
There's not much to be troubled about as this "war of words" as you put it is not a war at all and is entirely irrelevant. It's clear that the TTDEM's, or at the very least their chairperson is trying to start the 2014 election season early by these op-ed attacks. Why would the blogger in this case be "troubled" here. Wysocki is the vice chair of the party, right? As part of the leadership, he clearly is part of this messaging. Both Wysocki and Freed were part of labeling GOP school board candidates as "tea partiers." Kampf is a member of the tea party. I have a hard time seeing why Wysocki and Freed would have an issue here. And given that the blogger in this case is not part of the TTDEM's organization and endorsed Michelle Kichline, why would she be troubled by a political organizations decision to call out an elected official on the other side of the aisle. Kampf has shown himself to be an extreme partisan. I say good for Ms. Jamieson and the entire TTDEM's organization. They've clearly decided to capitalize on a successful 2013 election.
FreeSpeech December 18, 2013 at 11:58 AM
Always scary when some appoint themselves as the arbiter of what is and is not civil. It's almost as if some think they live in a monarchy and they are the monarch. Elected officials should simply not engage in these kinds of attacks. I agree that this is typical fare for a political organization. In my opinion, most people ignore the rants. A select few listen and fewer decide to either blog about it or write an op-ed. Rep. Kampf thinks that Ms. Jamieson is being uncivil in her attack and Ms. Benson apparently agrees with Rep. Kampf. Who really cares? Are Ms. Benson and Mr. Kampf appointing themselves Queen and King were they can decree what is civil. What's next? Getting the police involved or some other goon tactics in getting the point across and enforce their will? Personally, I think labeling people as liars when they are just offering opinion is distasteful. That's pretty ironic when you consider the people leveling that charge are calling for civility. I read Ms. Jamieson's piece and I thought she brought up some good political points. It doesn't change my opinion on things, but it does give me color and context. Perhaps civility should begin with recognizing that there is a right to free speech and people are entitled to their opinions. In many places in her blog, Ms. Benson echoes that sentiment. Would be nice if that was acted upon. Mr. Kampf is an elected official who above all, should appreciate and respect a citizen's right to dissent, even if they are a part of a partisan political organization. Mr. Kampf is himself, and extreme partisan. Perhaps Mr. Kampf should concentrate on working for the people and Ms. Benson should concentrate on something other than debating how people exercise their rights. It's their collective right to do as they do, but they look foolish doing it, and perhaps that truth will itself take care of the problem.


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