Public Watchdog.org

Of White Shirts And Brown Shirts

08.27.08

We’re still hearing about the City of Park Ridge Planning & Zoning Commission meeting Monday night at Emerson Middle School (in Niles), which reportedly was attended by as many as 350 residents. 

The main event of the evening was a public hearing on what requirements should be built into the new Special Use Permit being created to permit temporary homeless shelters in Park Ridge, like the PADS shelter currently planned for St. Paul of the Cross School’s gymnasium.

You might think that this issue itself would have enough substance to satisfy all of the interested parties without the need to resort to sideshows and gimmicks.  If so, you would be wrong, as the supporters of the PADS shelter decided to add a fashion statement to the proceedings.

By pre-arrangement, those supporters arrived in white shirts – perhaps because they couldn’t collect enough white 10-gallon hats to effect the “Western” cliché of the “good” cowboys versus the bad ones.  These “white shirts” seemed intent on presenting a show of force to the P&Z members, most of who looked like they never bargained for this kind of “heater” issue or this much public attention when they sought their appointments or re-appointments to P&Z from Mayor Howard “Let’s Make A Deal” Frimark.

For the record, Frimark – a PADS supporter – was observed in the audience wearing a suit, the coat of which he soon doffed to highlight the white shirt underneath.

We question the wearing of partisan garb of any type – in this case, white shirts – in the context of local government proceedings like the P&Z hearing Monday night.  When used as they were at Emerson, the shirts clearly served to visually divide the audience while at the same time claiming for the pro-PADS contingent the “good guys” persona – and providing a subtle form of intimidation as well.

Ironically, throughout the PADS shelter debate, it has been the pro-PADS forces who have chided the opposition for creating “divisiveness” in the community, and it has also been the pro-PADS forces (including Mayor Frimark) who have repeatedly questioned the “Christianity” of the members of the opposition – under the self-serving but legally erroneous view that this is a “religious” rather than a civic issue.

Although these shirts were white, the concept harkens back to a more troublesome political paradigm from 1930s Germany and the wearing of shirts of a different color – in that case, brown – to identify a particular political faction and intimidate its opposition.  One of the tactics of those “brownshirts” was to attack their opponents (principally, the Jews) as morally inferior.  Sound familiar?

The debate over the Special Use Permit requirements is a serious one with far-reaching implications for the entire community.  It should be conducted and decided on the merits of the competing policies and ideas, not on shirt color or the sturm und drang it encourages. 

But if either side wants this matter settled by raw numbers of supporters or opponents rather than by policy considerations and ideas, then the best way to get accurate numbers is to put the issue to advisory referendum on the April 2009 ballot.

Any takers? 

37 comments so far

comparing pads supporters to nazis? too funny.

how bout those nazis at the university of illinois who paint the hall orange for basketball games? or those nazis in devo with their black shirts? or those nazis on earth day with their green shirts?

facism is rampant.

You have created a serious problem for me. You see I only have dress shirts in two colors – blue and, you guessed it, white. I really would prefer that PADS not come to PR but I am wearing a white shirt. Should I run upstairs and change? Do I have to throw out all my white shirts or risk being compared to a Nazi?

If nothing else you made me laugh this morning. I guess that is worth something.

To Shirtless,

I think that PADS supporters are like Nazis! Telling us all how things are going to be whether we want it or not.

I think it’s more silly and shallow to compare a sports event and fans to a public meeting of residents discussing the serious subjects of public policy, like you did.

I might be wrong, but I think that was the point of the Watchdog article, to point out how silly and shallow the PADS supporters are.

To anon,

It isn’t the Watchdog that has created the problem for you. It is the silly and shallow PADS supporters that have created the problem.

All right….if you oppose the PADS shelter coming to Park Ridge, I submit that you wear pants (or shorts) to the next city clowncil meting.

Let’s see the numbers on that.

You honestly feel it is appropriate to compare PRMA and the PADS supporters, as misguided as they are, to the Nazi’s? You actually want to equate a disagreement over the application of the city special use and zoning process to the wholesale slaughter of millions of people?

Honestly there are times I find myself embarassed to be on the same side of the issue. This is one of those times. Just because you think you are right does not make it OK to say anything.

anon on 8.27.08 at 11:10 a.m.

you should be embarrassed about missing the whole point of the comparison, which is so obviously limited to the tactics of intimidation and character attacks on the opposition that it can reasonably be read only that way.

equating pads supporters and the prma with the exterminators of countless jews, poles, etc. would be as stupid as contending that today’s watchdog does that.

e.e:

I have no idea what the motivation for wearing the shirts was. Greatfully, I am not on their mailing list. Perhaps they felt that they has been somewhat invisible thus far and wanted to make a statement that there are infact people in town who support PADS. Why do people where buttons? Why are people vocal about this issue on the blogs? Who knows?

I believe that to make an comaprison to the Nazi’s in any way is crazy. You may be comfortable tap dancing around saying they were only refering to tactics. I am not. By the way, my response was to Sunshine On who stated:

“I think that PADS supporters are like Nazis! Telling us all how things are going to be whether we want it or not”.

Still against PADS but this kind of rhetoric is usless.

To Anon,

I think a comparison of the PADS supporters and the Nazis is very very accurate. I remember my history lessons that apparently you don’t!

I can understand why somebody who is Jewish or Christian could find this comparison hard to digest. It does bring up some ugly ugly history.

The Jewish interest is to make sure that the Holocaust is never diluted by any comparisons or anything else that could take away the focus from what happened to the Jewish people in Nazi Germany.

The Christians and especially the Catholics sure don’t want to be reminded of their Church’s conduct and complicity with the Nazi regime in Germany.

I can understand why this is very delicate for some people to deal with, but I don’t have a problem with those things. If you don’t like my comments then don’t read them!

I still say that the way the PADS supporters have acted like the Watchdog said, trying to be intimidating and everything else, is like a bunch of Nazis.

I say we “Anti-PADS” folks ALSO claim white shirts as our insignia. Assert even more loudly than they, that WE “own” the rights to the white shirt brigade. And then we all show up wearing white shirts so the city council and the P&Z committee have absolutely no idea who is who! Wouldn’t that be funny???

Sunshine:

Believe me my frustration with your comparison has nothing to do with the the two groups you wrote about. I do not fit into either catagory.

I just do not believe it is necessary or justified to elevate the rhetoric to this level. I guess our experiences with the Pro-PADS folks have been different. I am sorry them “trying to be indimidating and everything else” had bothered you so much. Were the white shirts really that bad? I have found nothing they have done to be in the least bit intimidating. Certainly no more intimidating then someone hanging a 12 foot wooden “No PADS” sign on their garage. Of course that is just freedom of expression, right?

Anyway I hope that we both like the end result – which is one thing we seem to agree on.

While driving though the neighborhood contemplating the issue of PADS shelter at SPC, I think I may have stumbled upon a brilliant (IMHO) idea. Here goes. Every week on Sunday night we rent a “PODS” storage unit at a different location. We equipt the PODS unit with cots and blankets and pillows and other essential amenities necessary for the comfort of the “PADS” patrons. No bathroom you say? Well, we could also rent “Port-a-Potties” for the patrons and we could rename the program, “PODS, Port-a-potties and PADS.” You like??

To anon,

You’re just being silly again. What you are saying is “I’m not comfortable hearing that sort of talk so I don’t want anybody else talking about that either”.

The PADS supporters have tried to be very intimidating to people who disagree with them and questioning people’s Christianity. Maybe you don’t understand what is under all that. Maybe you don’t understand that sort of thing is one inch away from saying “You will go to hell for disobeying Jesus”, which is the real message they are saying. Like because they are PADS supporters Jesus will love them more or something, or as if they have some Bat phone to Jesus or something and he told them they have to open a PADS shelter! They’ve been ridiculous! It’s all very bothersome!

That big No PADS sign was just free expression of that persons view on only the PADS shelter issue. That person had a sign that only said No PADS. It didn’t say No PADS and all you PADS supporters don’t care about our kids, or No PADS and all you PADS supporters are Libtards, or No PADS and all you PADS supporters are stupid dummies!  A sign like that would be silly too!

Alot of the people in the white shirts were really “that bad”. You should have heard them yacking under their breaths at the meeting. Nasty nasty! Nazis!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let’s just say this, Pro- pads may have felt as though they had to stoop to tactics (of any form) I would say they did this because it’s all they had. While they stood plotting the rest of the community mearly put on their thinking caps and came to a public hearing with reasonable thought out “testimony”. And would someone PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell all those Pro- people that this process that we are going through is TO ALLOW A SHELTER in Park Ridge. You would think that if they are going to go through all the trouble to show up and show force at a meeting they should at least know what the hell it is they all doing it for. That without this process they would NOT be able to open a shelter in town. DUH!!!!!

I guess we are just going to have to live with the fact that we disagree. Shall we move on to comparing them to terrorists???

There’s a very old rule of ‘net etiquette that states whoever is the first to bring up Nazis in an online argument loses.

So you’ve lost. Give it up. PADS is coming to town.

STY:

If that’s your standard for debate, it’s no wonder that the PADS proponents can’t make an argument more cogent than agreeing to wear the same color shirts and quoting the Bible.

Isn’t there some prudent compromise that can be reached here? If the PADS people merely agree to the 12 reasonable requests of the PRU crew and the PADS “guests” agree to having their forearms tattooed documenting that they meet Park Ridge standards, can’t we all just get along? I’m sure there must be some final solution to this problem.

Why aren’t all these “Christians” out there protesting the war in Iraq? It seems to me that would be a better way to tout one’s christianity. Oh yeah, I forgot, that is a war against *Islam* .

Mr. Mach…er…Mr. Milton:

That is an interesting compromise you’ve offered.

In other “Save the Poor” news, how goes the smoking ban at the Country Club? All the help happy with their new work conditions?

To PW: I haven’t heard one anti-PADS person claim they were intimidated by the evil white shirts. Your comparison is just another reminder of how ludicrous this commentary typically is. To the contrary, the anti-everything gang that mostly populate these blogs with hateful crap constantly try to intimidate through bullying, childish rants at public meetings and constant, personal attacks against anyone who dares to argue a contrary position. You are pathetic.

Anon:

Interesting analysis of “these blogs” and the posters, such as yourself, who frequent them.

Yet, you clearly read “these blogs” and posters comments often enough to post your own bullying, childish rant, and rather sweeping personal attack against people who argue their contrary position against yours!

Who’s “pathetic?”

To the last Anon,

Go suck your toes!

To the Anon I was talking to before,

I sure hope you aren’t the same one! I can agree to disagree with you, and if you want to call the PADS supporters terrorists, I won’t stop you. I believe in free speech! I do think you should be careful of defaming anybody though.

Alpha what you said about anon 9:12 is true. He is here just like the rest of us. By the way I am not the same anon. As I recall, you have the technology to check that.

But his statement, while a little over top for me, does touch on somethings I have tried to express here before. Is there such a thing as taking the high road anymore? It would seem to me that we have plenty of solid information for a case against PADS without having to resort to comparing the other side to Nazi’s. I cannot believe that anyone was sitting at home all week fuming over the white tee shirts and hypothisizing that they were fashioned after the tactics of arian nation. Quite honestly I do not see the difference between the shirts and buttons I have seen people wear around town and at some of the meetings. Suddenly this becomes another example of “their” intimidation. I do agree with the other anon on one thing. Tell me who the hell on the blogs, or in this town has been intimidated by the pro-PADS people? It is not like they are a very scarey group. If the politicians were intimated by the pro-PADS folks would they have voted 7-0 for special use? Unfortunately, as in any disagreement involving an entire community, there are nut cases on both sides that say stupid things. I do not think that means one side is guilty of Nazi intimidation. If so, then I would say that both sides are guilty.

Buy the way, I do not find anyone on the blogs to be pathetic. The blogs have been an important part of keeping me informed on the PADS issue and many others. They have motivated me to do research, ask questions and seek the truth. I just find some of the arguments people choose to employ to be pathetic.

Anon 9:53PM:

Sorry for the delay, the iPod syncing was not going as smoothly as planned.

Quite right Anon, I can check and I have. You can relax Sunshine, your Anon is not the rantypants Anon.

Back to you A9:53PM, you certainly are entitled to your opinions of issues, posters, and message delivery style. However, I personally believe that anyone who spends time solely addressing a messenger’s style as opposed to any portion of the message is, dare I say, pathetic. And, likely bereft of anything of real value to say on the subject.

It is all about intimidation. They cannot logically argue their position, so they move to intimidate their opponents. Kind of like the purple ribbon garbage a few years ago.

on on 08.27.08 9:53 pm:

If wearing white shirts to Monday night’s P&Z meeting was not intended to have some effect – whether a subtle “intimidation” by the number of them, or the “white hat” value – then we are left with the question of why the pro-PADS people made such a planned and concerted effort to wear them? Was it just a meaningless fashion statement?

And if you don’t see the difference between white shirts and buttons, then the distinction between a square yard or two of fabric and a three inch diameter piece of plastic and metal must be lost on you. But might that lack of distinction not cause you to wonder why those German fellows didn’t employ a different tactic and become known as the “brownbuttons”?

The comparison we made was based solely on two particular political tactics: the wearing of a certain color shirt and the characterization of one’s opposition as morally deficient. While you may find that comparison “pathetic,” we find the fact that these tactics are being employed by self-proclaimed Christians (as were many Nazis, by the way) as reprehensible. But that’s just our opinion, and you have your own. Fair enough.

As for “taking the high road,” we get the sense that the term means different things to different people – depending on who they are, how much power they wield, and what their position is on a given issue. Fr. Carl Morello reportedly still believes he took “the high road” by not telling his own parishioners that St. Paul was going to be the new PADS site until the Saturday after his representative announced it to the City Council at its June 2nd meeting. Go figure.

The principal goal of this site is to provide information and provoke thought. How you react to that is your responsibility.

This story is something we need to consider prior to opening up our village to homeless people from other areas. I like the idea of limiting the shelter to those who can prove an address in Park Ridge within the last 2 years.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-homeless-robbery-arrests-botaug28,0,1825124.story

Hey smarter that you,

you may have gotten one thing right. A shelter is coming to town. However, The city has decided that it will only come to town under certain guidlines and regulations, with a licensing process. And those guilines, regulations and licensing are what is being detrmined with a whole lot of thought and consideration. So those of you who thought or are still thinking that this whole thing is about keeping a shelter out, are wrong. You see my friend you loose. We have accomplished exactly what we set out to do. To have a watchful eye on the churchs’ and the shelter system, in an open and deliberate way. So… I ask you…. who’s smarter now?!?

Alpha:

I find it ironic that I lament the lack of style over substance and get accused of having no substance. Oh well, such is life. Of course I guess we all get the advantage of drinking our coffee and feeling morally superior. After all who is not morally superior when compared to Nazi’s?

PD:

First, at least with me, you are very much achieving your goal. Even when I disagree you force me to think.

As to why they wore the shirts I honestly don’t know the answer to that. We are left to assume and you choose to attach come comparison to the “brown shirts”. Perhaps their intent was very similiar to the intent of many on those on our side of the issue who choose to hang signs. Those who hung signs had no intent to intimidate. They wanted the city leaders and people in the city to know that there is a group who is very much against a PADS site. While there was no intent to intimidate, if you were living on Fairview near St. Mary’s and were pro-PADS you might feel a little intimidated about expressing your opinion if all you neighbors had signs in the window – intended or not. So maybe the pro-PADS people thought process was something like this: “Wow, these anti-PADS folks sure are organized. They have signs and 2 blogs that are clearly against PADS. People might be left with the impression that there is no support in this town for PADS. We need to show that there is a group that does support PADS”. Kind of like a group saying we need to put up signs to show we are against PADS, no?

As to the morally superior point, well, that bugs the hell out of me too! But I would state that it bugged me long before I ever heard of PADS. I guess I would say that there are a few nut jobs (I am sure you think they are all nut jobs) who post on the blogs and say things about warning about me going to hell. There are also nut jobs on our side. I have many pro-PADS people as neighbors who are rational and who discuss the issue free of accusations and religious pronouncements. They come from a place I cannot relate to, but they are not accusatory. We just disagree.

Lastly, to me at least, taking the high road means choosing not to engage in some of these tactics even if I think Father Carl did. To paraphrase my mother, “just because Fr. Carl does doesn’t make it right”. Actually maybe we should have t-shirts printed up with that saying on it!

Anyway, sorry for the length of this post.

Have a good day.

A8:26AM:

Read your sentence again, “I find it ironic that I lament the lack of style over substance and get accused of having no substance.”

In my best rendition of Inigo Montoya, I say, “I don think it means what you think it means”.

And, “After all who is not morally superior when compared to Nazi’s?”

“Nazi’s” what?

Methinks some schweinehund deleted my earlier greetings from the Braunes Haus. I attempted to alert Alpha Female that she may have been mislead by the intelligence unit at the Schutzstaffel. Spy activity can lead one in the right direction but to the wrong conclusion. I’m not a member of the tribe or the kibbutz.

Sometimes legitimate (I use the term loosely here) comments find their way to the spam folder and I decline to actually read through the spam folder to weed them out, instead, simply choosing to delete them. So your comment may very well have been deleted, but it was not intentional.

As for the rest of your remarks…yawn…

I still wonder when the last time some comparison with Naziis informed an argument rather than inflamed it.

That is the point I have been trying to make – with zero success.

Well Lloyd, probably the last time those engaged in the argument were both conversant with history.

mr. godfrey:

do children still learn the rhyme: “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? probably not, because our current culture of victimization encourages people to claim injury from words. and once they claim injury from words, they can justify anger over that injury. hence, they can justify becoming inflamed and blame words as the cause.

if the pads supporters choose to wear white shirts and condemn the moral (un-christian) inferiority of the pads opponents, then a comparison of them to “brownshirts” appears to be fair comment. anyone wishing to take injury from that comparison can also take responsibility for the self-inflicted inflammation that might result.

and as a matter of historical fact, not only were many german catholics members of the nazi party, but adolph hitler himself was raised catholic; and many other prominent nazis were catholics, including heinrich himmler, reinhard heydrich, josef goebbels and klaus barbie.

does this information inflame you?
By Lloyd Godfrey on 08.28.08 5:09 pm

e.e:

Wonderful defense of the use of the Nazi comparison. Deep down I knew it was the pro-PADS group’s own fault they this comparison took place. Thank you for confirming it.

My point has nothing to do with whether or not there is a case for the comparison or whose fault it is. I can build a case to do most anything if I choose. My point is why do it. You say the PADS supporters chose to morally condem. You are guilty of generalization that happens so often in this, and any, discussion/argument. I do not agree with PADS in PR but to say that all PADS supporters are like this or that is no different then judging those of us who are against PADS on some of the nutty statements or posts of a few.

I also find your victimization comments to be amusing. Don’t you see that this is a big circle. You say that they are justifying anger by injury from words. Don’t you see that you and others here are claiming to be the victims of shirts??? You are claiming injury from shirts and that somehow justifies comparing them to Nazi’s. Oh my god! They are wearing white shirts! You have attached words like intimidation and inflammatory to people wearing white shirts to show that there are people who support PADS in PR (god knows why).

I do not feel injured in any by the word Nazi. I do not support PADS and do not fit into any of the catagories that one might expect to feel injury by that word. I also do not feel intimidated by white shirts. I have yet to see any example of someone who has been intimidated in any way by what the pro-PADS people have done or said. That would even include the poloticials who voted 7-0 for special use – imagine that!!

Anyway, I hope you have a wonderful Holiday weekend.



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