LtE: The Cabal Fallacy

The Reading Post accepts Letters to the Editor. All letters must be signed. The Reading Post reserves the right to edit or not publish any letters received. Letters do not represent the views or opinions of the Post.

To the editor:

As some in town are aware, a blog has been circulating suggesting the existence of a “cabal” of 5 (named and unnamed) individuals controlling the entire political and legislative process in Reading. It further names a group of 15 individuals deemed puppets of this “cabal”. I moved to town in 2013, 6 years before the author of this blog. In that time, I’ve met many of the individuals mentioned as well as many active members of the author’s political and social persuasion.

Is there a small group of particularly active town residents? Yes. Is that group politically and socially one-sided? No. I would argue the author has made himself part of this group in recent years.

Would it be wonderful to expand the size of this group, so it is perhaps more representative? Yes! It’s always refreshing to see a new name on a ballot or a Letter to the Editor or a Facebook Reading Parents Network post. Please, get involved! We are so lucky in the Northeast to have Town Meetings and be more directly involved in our democracy. Don’t take it for granted. There are so many ways to participate.

On a personal note, I have faced the same allegations as the 15 individuals mentioned above. In 2017, I spoke at a Select Board meeting to question a decision regarding a Board of Health appointment. This immediately led to public accusations that it was a political stunt orchestrated by the previously mentioned “cabal” and that I was in cahoots with this group. Here’s the truth: I had no relationship with any of these individuals prior to my appearance at that meeting. I had had two conversations in passing with a named individual. I had also joined a now-defunct Facebook group that included some of these presumed individuals the week before the Select Board meeting. I had never previously met any of these individuals in person or online. I did post about my intention to participate in public comment and was asked what the group could do to support me. I replied that I was very nervous and simply wanted to know that there would be someone in the room sending me supportive vibes. That was the extent of my involvement in a “conspiracy”. That certainly wasn’t the last accusation against me, and I find them all equally obnoxious and demeaning.

Sometimes we make leaps that serve our narrative. It’s easy to fall into that trap, particularly when emotions run high. Reality can be a bit too boring. That said, it’s reckless to toss out these allegations prior to an election with the intent to spread fear and sway votes. I really feel for those who were named, and I’d encourage voters to take a more objective perspective when considering candidates and our town volunteers.

Emmy Dove
(independent adult)
Charles Street

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