Around Town: The ‘Big Lie’ is a popular tool (February 28, 2017)

If you are not a student of history, you may not be aware of the Big Lie. It is a phrase that defines a falsehood that when repeated often enough in different ways, comes to represent a cause for action or commonly held belief.

For instance, to get popular support in post-World War I Germany, Adolph Hitler blamed the Jews for all the ills suffered by the German people. Senator Joe McCarthy claimed there was a Communist behind every door in the early 1950s and people bought into the untruth out of fear over Russian aggression. You will find folks who characterize Global Warming as a Big Lie to justify new government regulation, taxes and control over industries not favored by environmentalists.

Here in little old Apple Valley, we have seen a concerted effort to promote another Big Lie. Namely, that our town government and those who serve it are inept, corrupt and cannot be trusted. I find it fascinating that Apple Valley is routinely chosen as the best city to live in here in the Victor Valley and that our Apple Valley Council members are retained in election after election. Yet to read the newspaper’s Letters to the Editor and blog posts, our town seems like a version of old Chicago.

Purported community watchdogs send out expensive mailers to whip up enthusiasm for the message that everything the town touches is mismanaged. There seems to be a real cohesive spirit among those who find new and arcane violations over which to sue the town while collecting handsome fees in the process. While I am not a conspiracy fan, I can’t help but wonder if the funding for all this activity to keep Apple Valley problems, real or imagined, in front of the electorate isn’t the scheme of political consultants who need a damaged town reputation to feed into future election narratives.

It is clear from reports from the last election where Liberty Utilities and their associates spent upwards of $500,000 to pass Measure V; that there is a benefit to a town with a wounded reputation when another water election comes around. Perhaps, the continual drumbeat of look what the town did now is just an accidental alignment of political gadflies with nothing else to do, but it seems suspiciously organized and well-funded to me. Am I equating anyone who criticizes the town with Hitler or McCarthy? No. Just wondering out loud why the constant repetitive drumbeat of complaints by the same voices are focused on trashing our town’s reputation and the people who work in and for it.

Source: Pat Orr, Apple Valley Review