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This is a great conversation to have; thanks for the article, Seven Days!
Maggie Standley, I am having this conversation with another user on a different article. Because the conversation began from a city council race, there is a good chance I am talking to my neighbor. Whoever this person is is remarkable polite but what they are doing is asking for "civil discourse" to not include my views or the views of others who agree with them. No one has been vulgar or resorted to name calling, etc. This is a great example of tine policing and how comments like: "can't we all just be civil," or "let's just discuss this calmly" are actually meant to silence those who are expressing oppression and do not have the energy to expel on tone.
That is not to say that online harassment and bully aren't incredibly important topics that need to be addressed. And I just want to thank the Moderators for reading all the nasty comments so that we don't have to. But there is a finer line between making sure that the message board doesn't contain harassing language and making sure that the victims of the harassment aren't being silenced because of tone policing. It's important to get this right, so thank you, Seven Days for thinking it through!
My Dear Friend Stickinthemud,
Your response would be funny if it were not the perfect example of the issue I was addressing. Please do let me explain.
I cannot speak for Bluemaribou, but your response troubles me: first you where called on limiting the political speech of others through tone policing (as I do not know you, I do not mean to imply your intentions are as sinister as the intentions of those often held by those who employ tone policing as a political tactic to dispel dissection, particularly from minority voices).
In response, you could have written something along the lines of, "I'm sorry it came across that I was trying to silence your political opinion, that was not my intention in the least, despite disagreeing with you vehemently on the character of the candidate in question." Instead, you chose to write: "This is not a real discussion."
Once again, you are policing the conversation: who gave you the right to determine what a "real discussion"? If this isn't a real discussion, what is it? I am fairly certain it isn't this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msvOUUgv6m8
Whatever you deem it, with all due respect, it doesn't really matter because it was not yours in the first place. This is a public forum, a place for people to comment on news and politics and what have you (see http://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/why-does-seven-days-allow-anonymous-commenting/Content?oid=4826197). When you try to belittle the opinions of others by claiming the conversation itself doesn't exist, it starts to look like political gas lighting... but when done in such a public (and searchable) manner, its also downright silly.
If I can be so bold, I suggest you begin to look beyond your manners and consider what the message you are conveying says to the person you are conveying it to.
Pardon me, but I did not realize I needed to personally know a candidate for public office to critique their motives for running, comments made to the media, or comments made on a public message board.
I take it from your comment (it's form and substance) that you think politeness is most important: you are very polite in your request for my political views to be silenced. Here too we disagree. Thank you.
Glad she beat Genese Grill and we now have Counselors who actually want to serve and don't consider it a "sacrifice."
"The point is, I am not a career politician and running and serving as a City Councilor, had I won, is a sacrifice I was willing to make because the need, in my opinion and the opinion of the 47% of the people who voted in 2 and 3, was so great as to make that sacrifice worth it."
There are two issues here:
Get off your high horse. No one was asking you to be a career politician. City Councilors can't be career politicians. Vermont has a citizen legislature. Unless you were confused and thought you were on the ballot as Governor, this should not be an issue. Instead, what I see is someone trying to use a dog whistle. "career politician" is a nasty word in Vermont and by associating those hard working public servants who did win and who will not be fully compensated for their time with this tern Genese is trying to degrade a group of people she failed to be a part of.
Finally, serving isn't a sacrifice: it's an honor. And this is at the crux of all that is wrong with Genese's attitude. If running for office isn't something that you hold high and holding office isn't something that you think of with reverence because of the decision making power the people have entrusted you with you should never have submitted your name for the ballot in the first place.
Shame on you Genese.
I just re-stumbled on this gem of a comment thread and was a little disturbed by the attitude of the candidate (Genese Grill) in her own comment which she posted. I will excerpt the parts that bothered me below and explain:
"Those of you who choose to scoff from the comfort, safety, and anonymity of your homes can have no idea what it takes to run an election campaign, to go door to door in the freezing cold, to have meetings every day and night, to have to listen to nasty unfounded attacks by people."
Yes, actually, many of us do. Vermont is full of politically active citizens who (mainly) volunteer their time to help get people like you, Genese elected. The people who volunteer often have work, school, family, housework, and other responsibilities but they give up their "free time" because they believe the candidate when they say they are take the work seriously. This is one of the reasons that many people found your comment so offensive. You asked other people to give their time and energy and they did so because the unspoken contract was that you actually WANTED to do the job you were running for. And, thus, your comment in this article sounds like you broke a social contract and now it sounds like you are complaining that you even put the effort in in the first place. What you are describing above is nothing unusual to anyone who has been involved in politics, community organizing, or government. Your comments sound like the excuses of someone who never thought through her own actions or how her actions would affect others and is only concerned with herself.
To be Continued: