The Problem with Unite Norman

I planned to write a letter last week regarding the dishonest nature of Unite Norman’s campaign to recall Mayor Clark and several council members, but life got in the way. Now I’m compelled to make the time.

This week we now have detention and brick throwing on the part of Unite Norman co-founder Sassan Moghadam perpetrated against a group of young people who were lawfully exercising their rights.

The teenagers drove past a Unite Norman group which happened to be where they were picking up a take-out order from a restaurant. They played an anti-Trump rap song and made rude hand gestures.

They would have come and gone in a matter of seconds if they weren’t detained. However offensive this may have been for a brief moment, it’s absolutely protected speech in this country under the First Amendment, just as Unite Norman has the right to put forth their views that many people find wrongheaded and offensive.

The driver of the car who had the brick-wielding Mr. Moghadam literally in his face happens to be my 18-year-old son.

In the article in Thursday’s Transcript, Unite Norman people were quoted making demonstrably false statements about the conduct of my son that are easily refuted by the videos that have now gone viral due to Mr. Moghadam’s outrageous conduct, as well as additional evidence that I believe will come to light as the investigation proceeds.

Good and decent people can disagree on issues and see the same situation differently, but we owe it to our fellow citizens and ourselves to at least debate honestly. In an honest discussion, there would certainly be issues where Mr. Moghadam and I would find common ground.

However, the ads in the paper and fliers in my mailbox include misleading and outright false statements. For example, the sanctuary city concept was put forth by a citizen advisory committee and never got any traction with the City Council; it’s a nonissue.

The remark of a council member that immigration status isn’t a concern for the police is in no way unusual or controversial. Stating that the police were “defunded” is highly misleading at best. Why not instead simply state what actually happened with the police budget?

This is the problem I have with Mr. Moghadam and Unite Norman. They bear false witness against our elected representatives and anyone else who disagrees with them in order to mislead folks, demonize their opposition, and drum up support for their recall petition.

When someone wages an ugly misinformation campaign against their neighbors and then shows their true colors like they did with the teenagers Tuesday evening, perhaps some will re-evaluate exactly who here are the “radicals,” and exactly what their agenda is.

And just for the record, we support the police, and we also support Mayor Clark and the challenged council members.

Those are not mutually exclusive things. Neither I nor anyone else in my family have been part of any group opposing Unite Norman or otherwise engaged in political activism. Frankly, we’ve had bigger things to worry about.

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