The problem with arguments that have no substance is that they readily fall apart when challenged. Many of you have probably noticed an individual by the name of Mark Mena who has been arguing against those on social media that have something negative to say about the El Paso ballpark. Politics always has multiple opposing sides on every policy initiative. Each side of the argument generally has substance in their arguments although they may be opposite of each other. However, there are those that offer no substance and instead will argue for propaganda purposes. Mark Mena is such an individual.
The problem with individuals like Mark Mena is that they interrupt policy discussions with unrelated arguments. For what reason, I can only guess but it is likely that it is nothing more than an attempt to make themselves relevant through interruption. Much like a child consistently interrupts an adult conversation just to be noticed.
Last week, El Paso Times business reporter Vic Kolenc posted an interesting and very important question on his Facebook wall. In the question, Kolenc asked simply; “why the city can’t just move computers and rewire instead of buying a new computer”. Kolenc was referring to the musical chairs debacle with Cortney Niland. The question is very important because if a computer and microphone already exists for Cortney Niland then why is buying a new computer required in order for her to sit next to Ann Morgan Lilly.
Although much innuendo has been disseminated about the expense of purchasing a new computer to accommodate Niland’s movement on the dais, the fact is that other than being told that it would cost about $6,843 the community has no other information. These are the types of questions that the news media should be asking instead of echoing what they are told by the city.
In response to Vic Kolenc’s Facebook post, I added a comment letting him know that he posed an excellent question and I also let him know that I had submitted an open records request for more information about the costs involved. Mark Mena chimed in a couple of hours later ignoring Kolenc’s original question and instead distracted away from the question by posting a comment about the alleged behavior of another individual sitting at the dais.
It is these types of unfounded allegations that is the impetus for my blogging.
Whether intentional or not, what Mark Mena and others like him do is spread disinformation and deflect from important policy discussions. I cannot tell you if Mena is intentionally creating propaganda or just spreading it around but the fact remains that it interferes with public discussion and discourages political discourse.
In response to Mena’s unsubstantiated comments, I pointed out that Mark Mena had turned a discussion about the cost of moving equipment at the city into one of an alleged behavioral problem. I pointed out to Mena that it smacks of propaganda and damage control and that it makes we wonder why people feel the need to defend Cortney Niland.
Mena’s response to my comment was that he was “just stating that the problem is Limon”. Of course, as a propagandists that understands his argument has no substance, Mark Mena adds that my “blog is a mouthpiece for the constant insults directed at the majority of council”, and adds as a question if I reside in Florida. Never mind that neither of those two points he was attempting to make have anything to do with the discussion at hand on why it would cost so much to move an existing computer at the dais. It was not surprising to me, however, because I already knew that Mark Mena had no substance with which to make a coherent argument. Of course, though, I had to point it out to him.
Therefore I responded by reminding him that his whole argument about Lily Limon being the “problem” had no facts with which to back it up with. To date, no one has provided any facts to back up the assertion that Lily Limon is the “problem” in the musical chairs debacle. The only “evidence” provided so far are self-serving he-said, she-said comments by two individuals involved in the debacle.
I, on the other hand, provided two very specific facts to back up my assertions about Cortney Niland’s roles in the musical chairs debacle. The first fact is the public chastising issued by Oscar Leeser, the presiding officer at the dais, to Cortney Niland for her behavior at a recent city council meeting. The second fact I provided is the fact that the news media has reported that Cortney Niland has relented and is moving back to her appointed seat at the dais.
It shouldn’t surprise me, but it still does, that some individuals in the US, who are supposedly educated, would insinuate that because I do not live in El Paso I am somehow excluded from my First Amendment right to comment on political issues across the country. Of course, I pointed that out to him.
Mena’s response had, again, no substance and was just regurgitation of his previous words. His first response was to ask me if I am a “voter in El Paso County?” Obviously, Mark Mena has no understanding whatsoever about the rights enshrined in the Constitution of the United States. I hope that he is not teaching civics, government or even in the educational system because he would be a detriment to the children that would be subjected by his obvious lack of knowledge on government and rights. Of course, he goes back to his original unsubstantiated arguments in what I think is his belief that if he writes something as many times as he can it will eventually become true.
Clearly understanding that the only thing of substance Mark Mena has to offer is the propaganda points that he has picked up I challenged him to write a point-counterpoint piece that I would publish on my blog. I gave him an opportunity to make his argument, either of the two he original posed – the issue of Cortney Niland or my right to opine about El Paso politics.
I think Mark Mena clearly understood that I had called his bluff and in attempt to save face, publicly he responded to my Facebook invitation with a “sounds good”. I sent him my email address and a request that we divide the two arguments and initially focus on the Niland/Limón one first. I wrote that I was hoping that he could send me his article by Friday so that I could run it yesterday. That was last Thursday. According to Facebook’s system, Mark Mena saw my message on Thursday at 10:34am, El Paso time.
Unsurprisingly Mark Mena hasn’t responded to my invitation. He clearly understands that his propaganda has no substance and he wants to keep the façade going for as long as he can.
The reason I am pointing this out today is twofold. The first is to show you how propaganda is perpetuated into the community’s consciousness by individuals’ like Mark Mena making unsubstantiated comments. These comments eventually create the illusion of being fact-based because no one challenges them for what they are – propaganda.
Cortney Niland understands that she has a serious public perception problem that could jeopardize any future political office she may choose to pursue in the future. Her only recourse at this point is to create an illusion in order to diminish the damage.
The second reason is although I am frequently accused of being one-sided and agenda driven I am always open to allowing the other side of the argument the opportunity to state their case on my blog. Nobody has been willing to step up; instead, they attempt to create the illusion that my arguments are one-sided or agenda driven. The real reason is that the propagandists know that propaganda immediately fails when challenged by the facts. Mark Mena amply demonstrated this through his silence when I gave him the opportunity to defend his position on my blog.