Benefit of the doubt

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Trust is a fragile thing.

Trust is essential to any human endeavor involving more than one person (which is to say, nearly every endeavor worthy of pursuit), but it is easily broken and once broken it is almost impossible to mend.

You can go from treasured friend to arms-length acquaintance and not realize it's happened until it's too late. It's like being demoted, but someone forgot to copy you on the memo. Good will is gone, and its absence is evident in body language and tone of voice. Warm smiles are replaced by chilly glares.

It comes down to this: Before, your actions and words were given the benefit of the doubt. Your good intentions were assumed. After, your actions and words are viewed with suspicion of dark motives, and actions and words from the past are reinterpreted in accordance with this new, negative theory of you.

And here's the worst part: Every effort you make to find out what went wrong, to mend fences, to seek restoration is viewed through the same lens of suspicion. Far from patching the hole, your efforts only dig it deeper. What sounds like a simple, reasonable explanation as it leaves your mouth reaches your erstwhile friend's ear as defensive and evasive.

(UPDATE: Dawn Summers posted a "not so random thought" a couple of days ago that captures this situation perfectly -- "I was there when we became friends, where was I when we became strangers?")

What can bring about such a dramatic change, in the absence of any intentional breach of trust? A seed of doubt, watered by imagination, is all it takes. The seed may be planted by accident, the misapplication of past experience, or it may be planted deliberately by someone seeking to destroy a friendship or an alliance.

In the battle for the Tulsa's future, the coalition of reformers is made up of people who are just getting to know each other, and the bond of trust is not yet fully formed. We are vulnerable to attack at this point, and we must guard against it.

Thursday night's City Council meeting didn't go the way anyone expected. Allies inadvertently ended up working at cross-purposes, but some observers jumped to the conclusion that there had been a betrayal, that some sort of deal had been cut to the disadvantage of the Reform Alliance. The seed of doubt was planted and imagination watered it. I'm hopeful that efforts to root it out quickly were successful.

Brethren, we need to watch and pray, because we are surely under attack. And we need to give each other the benefit of the doubt.

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» City Politics Run Amok from MeeCiteeWurkor

I read a very truthful and insightful article by Michael Bates at batesline yesterday. One particular excerpt from "Benefit of the doubt" stood out to me. It comes down to this: Before, your actions and words were given the benefit of the doubt. Your... Read More

7 Comments

Doug said:


How true. In an atmosphere of fear and conspiracy an alliance can be fragile and a difficult thing to maintain.

But we must look at the positive aspect of Thursday's meeting. Had the quorum been retained, The Machine would have rolled on 4-2 no matter how much deliberation and public discussion occurred.

Instead, through parliamentary panache, The Alliance made its point and could possibly have bought some valuable time.

Yet, betrayal by formerly trusted allies can often leave a jaded and skeptical outlook on events. A delay at this point may have left some who were anxious for 'action' even more anxious.

It is indeed a battle and the enemy loves nothing more than to pick off those who are not in close rank with the truth.

Kevin Christopher Author Profile Page said:

I was just wondering how far people want to go with the investigations into the business dealings involving the airport businesses.

Batesline is the only place I have seen the unmentionable name mentioned. SPARTAN...

Go to: www.cat13.com

Concerned Citizens said:

In the midst of it all, we MUST KEEP IN MIND, WHO IS THE ENEMY? And we must remember, those who support the recall and destruction of the alliance and public trust......those like Sullivan and his comrades, are experts at
"planting seeds" that result in further destruction. What happened Thursday night was an indicator that "they" are trying everything possible, to break up the alliance and weaken the growing momentum and strength among the citizens!! We citizens were well aware that the Mayor was just outside the meeting room and HE STILL HAS THE RESPONSIBILITY and YET CHOOSES NOT TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE!! How sad! He definately is not acting like the leader of this great city, as he should!! What a disappointment!!

Let's all stay supportive of Councilors Mautino, Medlock, Turner and Henderson! And by all means, let's pray for a "citizen sensitive" person to serve in District 5, as Roop's replacement!

Dan Paden said:

More than once I've told my class, "Look at how many times in your New Testament you are told to forgive your brother when he offends you. Over and over and over again. The only conclusion I can come to is that your brothers and sisters are mighty cotton-pickin' offensive, and you had better make allowances!

Mike Nash said:

Didn't Sullivan indicate he wanted to move the recall issue to the April 7th City Council meeting? And isn't that the same night Glenn Beck comes to Tulsa? Coincidence? I think not!

Folks, as many of us as possible need to be involved in the next City Council and Mayoral elections. We have to quash the good ol' boy network that has almost run this city into the ground!

It is clear that Henderson and Turner did what they thought was right, and there is no doubt that they are on the right side of this recall fight. I see no backdoor deals or conspiracies. It looks to me like there was a difference in opinion over the correct course of action. I just wish they had come to an understanding with Mautino and Medlock first. But Bates is right; this is not something to which we let this kink our armor. Mautino and Medlockís closest allies on the council are Henderson and Turner, we are their closest allies, and the like-minded citizens that will fight their opposition at ever turn. If this issue is on the agenda again, we will be there again, and again and again if we have to. We will stand at their side against any other issue that endangers Tulsa or itís neighborhoods. We will win back Tulsa!

Sam Roop said:

Your comments about trust are so true. Suspicion and paranoia sometimes go too far and sees things that are not really there. Somewhere between being too naive and too paranoid lies the truth. We should try to find truth and not let it be a casuality of an over active imagination full of suspicion and paranoia. Guilt by association is next of ken to paranoia. I pray for our communities sanity.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 19, 2005 11:41 PM.

"Abstinence plus" education gets a grade of STD+ was the previous entry in this blog.

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