Politics & Government

Mike Rawlings Against the Politics of Fear

The Dallas mayor has shown us what the term 'public servant' means.

mikerawlingsagray.jpgD Magazine’s annual “Best of Big D” named Councilman Scott Griggs as Best Public Official. It is a splendid recognition of his resilience and good judgment in trying to guide this city into its future.

The Readers’ Pick went to Mayor Mike Rawlings. I want to take a moment to applaud the wisdom of our readers. The reader voting and the preparation of the issue occurred long before the shootings on July 7. During that terrible day and afterward, Mike Rawlings exhibited the best qualities of civic leadership, just as he did during the Ebola crisis, two years before.

The mayor and I can — and do — disagree over particular issues. Thinking people by their very nature think differently about many things. But the mayor has time and again risen above these disagreements over policy to speak to the larger causes that unite us. Following the shooting of five of his police officers (nothing worse has happened to any mayor since the assassination of John F. Kennedy), he resolutely defended the right of the protesters to march even as he mourned the officers who lost their lives. He spoke with passion and eloquence, and he addressed the very heart of the great matter that now confronts the American people. He directly refuted the loud voices of division and fear that filled the cable news outlets and social media.

The politics of fear has become a driving force in this country. It began with talk radio. It drives Fox News. It propels Donald Trump’s bid for the White House. The politics of fear has all but taken over the Republican Party, the party to which I once proudly belonged. I am still on their mailing lists. I’m a 68-year-old white man. I am their target demo. At least once a week they try to scare me into sending them money. Fear is a great motivator. They use it because it works.

But the politics of fear did not take over this city. Mike Rawlings did not allow it to. He stood up and spoke out with calmness, clarity, and an abiding faith in the goodness of his fellow citizens. One man cannot heal 20 generations of racial division and suspicion and — on both sides — fear. But no man could do more than Mike Rawlings did that fateful week. There was nothing practiced or calculating in it. The strength he displayed came from his heart. It was who he is.

The whole world saw a Dallas they perhaps did not expect to see. Mayor Rawlings and Police Chief David Brown deserve all the credit. They are the reason public officials were once known as public servants. They showed public service at its finest.

Comments

  • Jack Blacker

    Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words. His legacy will be judged by his actions not his rhetoric or speeches. He needs to govern for the people that most need him not just those North of 30 that are looking to get richer of the taxpayers. He was right, this is all on his generation and, Dallas and the Nation will be in much better hands when the next generation takes over. This generation in power has way too much baggage. Its time for real change and that will not happen until the next generation takes over. Period!

  • Greg Brown

    Rawlings is just one in a long series of “Mayors” that are in office for the sole purpose of supporting the rich in Dallas with our tax dollars. Yeah, he can be the occasional healing leader, and yeah, he can get he hell out of the way when a crisis strikes and let the pros handle it. But in the end, his job is to shill for the connected and get taxpayer money to fund their crazy dreams. Nothing more.

    • bmslaw

      “But in the end, his job is to shill for the connected and get taxpayer money to fund their crazy dreams.” What a sad, cynical outlook you have. In truth and in fact, Wick Allison is right and you are wrong.

      • Greg Brown

        “Right” and “Wrong” are concepts. Actions are definable. I would ask for refund on your law “degree.”

    • Greg Brown

      Ya know, I thought maybe I was too harsh in my critique. But no. He used the memory of dead police officers to shill for the Fair Park takeover yesterday. That pretty well puts him in Trump territory for really messed up values.

  • Larry Brautigam

    Wrong. He stood up in that moment. And deserves praise for it. So why can’t that decency transfer to his other dealings, which so often act like ‘deals’. His anti-transparency, back room, insider machinations are eeviiilll.

  • JamieT

    For me, this was the most interesting paragraph in the whole post:

    “The politics of fear has become a driving force in this country. It
    began with talk radio. It drives Fox News. It propels Donald Trump’s bid
    for the White House. The politics of fear has all but taken over the
    Republican Party, the party to which I once proudly belonged. I am still
    on their mailing lists. I’m a 68-year-old white man. I am their target
    demo. At least once a week they try to scare me into sending them money.
    Fear is a great motivator. They use it because it works.

    But the politics of fear did not take over this city.”

  • Poetaster Dallas

    I’m sorry, I will always remember him as the Skipper.

    WE ARE ALL MINNOWS
    Mayor Mike’s the Captain of this BIG city,
    Hop aboard the sinking ship, the S.S. Trinity.
    AC as little buddy? Mrs. Howell, I asSuhm,
    Dressed in Neiman’s really does control the room
    With her mister. Thurston III’s way over there,
    Looking down the bodice of the chick with red hair.

    Ginger, we know, has been artistically enhanced.
    Go figure it’s why developers want in her pants.
    A river of love that needs no containment…
    Who wouldn’t enjoy the underpass entertainment?
    Poor Maryanne, a small park is all she requests.
    Get used to second girl, you ain’t got the breasts.

    And before we forget, that Wylie Professor,
    The man with solutions, the second guesser.
    Can he rescue the group? Can he be our savior?
    He’s really good at pointing out bad behavior.
    Not liked by some, and his anonymous soul
    Have placed limits on his ability to take control.

    Strange shipmates, those who started this trip,
    Never asking can the Captain really steer this ship
    Through storm and strife and dangerous shoals,
    Ignoring the pressure of big money at the polls?
    It’s important, his creds, on this project to secure,
    So we all don’t end up on that three hour tour.

  • Poetaster Dallas

    DEFINITION OF BIG
    How do we measure the heart of a city,
    With death of good men, more’s the pity.
    Their service to assist, not to pursue
    Shot down in action because they were blue.
    Dallas is searching to do what is right
    Knowing we lose if it results in a fight.
    We know well the pain, blood on the street
    And the ensuing years of eating defeat.

    Maybe not now, maybe more respect –
    Imperfect – but more willingness to reflect
    On who is black, white, brown or blue,
    And people we know, things that they do
    That we appreciate daily, in one’s own life.
    Their life does matter, no need for strife –
    One is not lessened by helping another,
    You become more by helping your brother.

    BIG city, BIG people, BIG hearted Dallas

    Reborn anew, let’s bury our malice.

  • GlennHunter

    Wick, I agree that Mayor Rawlings did a great job. But I think you’re off the mark here pinning “fear” tactics on talk radio, Fox News, and Republicans. First off, polls show that people are anxious–fearful, if you will–about the multitude of recent terrorism incidents and the very weak economic “recovery.” (Confronting the bipartisan globalist ideology that led to this point is what Trump is all about.) If you want to argue that people are silly to be anxious, have at it. What’s more, the Republicans’ political/media/academic adversaries also stir up the masses with fear, whether it’s fear of the NRA/second amendment, white supremacists (the few they can scrounge up for the cameras), pro-life types, fixes for things like Medicare (“they’re going to throw grandma off a cliff!”), etc. So there’s plenty of hypocrisy and manipulation and corruption in the system to go around, and it’s unfair to imply that one side has a lock on it.