Following the trend that has led so many Americans to further distrust public officials and the “gubament” in general, Alan Greenspan said yesterday that the current financial crisis is not his fault, but merely a flaw.
If there’s one thing about Americans, it’s that we want someone to take responsibility for their actions.. Someone needs to be blamed in the eyes of Americans, and when the somebody responsible does everything in their power to deflect that responsibility, it angers people even more.
Really this is simple stuff. I don’t understand why people won’t own their actions and just move on. It’s so much easier than the long extended dance mix of finger pointing. The “blamers” seem to forget that every time they point the finger at someone else, there are three more fingers on that hand pointing back at them.
Further, people that point out mistakes are not to blame for the mistakes. The mistake was there before anyone pointed it out. There’s been a lot of noise about the SCDP ballot thing that they refused to fix on their own, and how it’s the people, like myself, who deserve blame for publicizing the mistake. It’s unfortunate that we have leaders who are so wrapped up in being right that they cannot accept their responsibility for something even if it was a subordinate, or subordinate body that actually made the error. As Chairman of the SCDP, Keith Norman is responsible for everything the SCDP does. If he doesn’t like that, he should step down.
Finally, I think it’s important that people who are not to blame, not accept it out of convenience or attempted consensus building. If accepting blame is the sole condition for consensus, walk away. You do not need them. They have failed not you, and hopefully you have learned a valuable lesson in the process. People who wish to deflect blame to create a false consensus are not your ally, they are the enemy of the change this City, County, State and Nation so desperately need. Ultimately, they have a personal need for you to take the blame more than you need anything they have to offer.
My final word on the Ballotgate imbroglio…I’m glad the ballots are fixed, I’m sad the situation that created the problem was left unresolved.
We’re up to day 8 of the screwed up ballot mess. Keith Norman released the following statement:
I have been in contact with Commissioner Mulroy as of about 9PM on Tuesday night and I have left 1 message for him as of 8 AM Wednesday morning. I have charge of the ballots (i.e., with respect to their location) and I am waiting for his team to set the date for the press conference so that any misleading statements regarding the ACTIONS of members of the Party can be clarified.
However if I have not heard from him by a reasonable hour I will proceed with releasing the ballots as they are with a written statement on our position to the media. (h/t WTL)
Apparently, with the SCDP, you only get solutions on their timeframe. If that doesn’t jive with your timeframe, you must be okay with it.
Last night I heard that the ballots have been taken back to the printer to have the offending section blotted out. The kicker is that the SCDP would not pay to have the ballot run through again, someone else had to. Yeah, that’s right, the SCDP didn’t have the sense of responsibility, nor the common decency to correct something that was never approved by the body’s Execom. Smells like Leadership, really bad leadership.
Situations like this throw organizations into some weird finger pointing, groupthink, and “hardening of the attitudes”. These reactions illustrate why there is a growing distrust in this country of political parties. How hard is it to just publicly admit a mistake, work to fix it, and move on…very hard, apparently. This thing still looks like shenanigans, and until there’s some plausible explanation, in the public eye, it is shenanigans.
SCDP, you are a Democratic organization, but democracy (little d democracy) is not the way you operate. There is no transparency anywhere in the SCDP. Information, no matter how benign, is held in strict confidence. A party cannot operate as an exclusive club AND expect regular people to give it money and time.
What big secret has the SCDP been cooking up for the past 18 months that no one could know about? Is this it? What great idea, that if exposed, would damage the future of Democratic candidates, has to be so guarded? Why won’t you even tell your delegates what the heck is going on with your organization? We actually took the time to get selected and all that. It’s not as if we’re not interested. It’s almost as if you don’t want anyone to know you’re not really doing anything!
I know there are a lot of good people who are actually working hard for the SCDP. As much as I want to insulate them from my criticism, I can’t. Objections have been internalized, and summarily pushed under the rug. Where’s the public outrage and indignation? Why are no current members of the SCDP Execom screaming bloody murder publicly at this in the wake of inaction from the Chair? Why is it that, other than some email traffic at the beginning of this screw up, it seems to be just an accepted reality, and that nothing can be done about it?
I guess I’m just naïve, or overly emotional, or any of those other dismissive things that people call people when they get mad at something they have every right to get mad at but it doesn’t suit the agenda of the maker of the mistake, but I’m tired of the SCDP treating Democrats like they’re part of the problem when they get upset with the actions of the SCDP. Remember Ececom members; you’re there to represent us, the Democratic voters of your districts, the Democratic voters of Shelby County. It’s unfortunate that several of you just don’t see it that way.
SCDP, I’ll be glad when this election is over so I can get back to ignoring you again. It’s unfortunate that I feel that way, really. The SCDP has the potential and the general support to be the second biggest and powerful Democratic Party organ in the state. Some of you are so paralyzed by potential success that you just won’t let yourselves, or the party succeed. As we approach the Convention next year, I suggest that those of you who fear success examine whether your involvement in the party has been a net positive or a negative, if you can stomach that kind of close introspection, and give someone else a shot at it. In all honesty, after watching the performance that’s been going on the past 8 days, I doubt you have it in ya.
The fun with the SCDP ballot power grab, just keeps getting funner. Jackson Baker reports this morning on the “bash-Mulroy” session that was last night’s SCDP Super Secret Honeycomb Hideout Steering Committee meeting. For those just joining us, the meeting was called in the wake of SCDP Chairman Keith Norman’s failure to show at a press conference he called to address the ballot faux pas. Classy.
So, last night the Steering Committee got together in Whitehaven, to “address the issue” which looks more like it means, get their story straight, and find a person outside of their little club to blame. Some on the committee are none too pleased that ANYONE voiced some dissent, much less an elected official, on the now illustrious ballots printed and distributed by the SCDP, but it seems they doth protest too much.
Commissioner Mulroy is the victim of the committee’s ineptitude. He has championed IRV (Instant run-off voting), something that would save the city thousands of dollars in run-off elections each cycle, which just happens to be one of the “referendums” that the “Officially not approved by the full Execom of the SCDP, ballot” says to vote no on. Blaming Mulroy on this is like blaming a robbery victim for their house just being too nice to resist.
Let there be no mistake, Mulroy’s protests, and the protests of people like me who just want to understand why this was done without the consent of the full SCDP Execom didn’t cause the problem, the Steering Committee, who printed the ballots without full consent did.
So, it would seem, we’re right in the same spot we were yesterday. No answers, a bunch of stonewalling, and a committee committed to covering their ass at every turn. Ain’t that Democracy!
If you want to read more about the most current foibles of the SCDP, take a look at my previous post which links to many of the other concerned bloggers. They’ve written new stuff since then, so give their blogs’ front page a looksee while you’re at it.
If you’re pissed at the SCDP for operating in an undemocratic manner, give the Chairman a call, I’m sure he’d love to hear your concerns. His information follows below.
KEITH NORMAN, CHAIR
751-7154 (home) 830-0601 (cell)
PS. Before you fly off the handle about publishing someone’s phone numbers, this information is also located at the the SCDP website location, so it’s not like it’s not public information.
So, this morning I mentioned a press conference that was to be held and attended by SCDP Chairman Keith Norman. What happens when the one person everyone wants to talk to fails to show up? They schedule a super secret meeting at the Whitehaven Branch of the Memphis Public Library for 6pm tonight, that’s what.
I was fairly nice to the folks that created this debacle in my last post, but that niceness is running thin. Rank and file Shelby County Democrats want answers, and we want them RIGHT NOW.
This is your chance to come clean. This is your chance for redemption. This is your chance to beg forgiveness and pray like hell that these foolish actions don’t harm the candidates who will surely suffer from the mess that has been created at the hands of certain individuals on the SCDP Steering Committee.
Will you swallow your pride, take your lumps and deal with the circumstances or will you puff out your chest and proclaim your innocence, or lack of assistance, or a printer error, or any number of lame excuses I’ve heard so far?
The cat is out of the bag folks, and it’s making a mess all over the new carpet. Every move that has been made since the unveiling of these ballots has led to the conclusion that there is a cover-up going on, whether there is one or not. You’re fighting public perception at this point. Basically, by Norman not showing up today, you further fed the perception that something underhanded is going on, so even if this was an honest mistake, any charity that might have been given is gone. Someone’s head has to roll now, that’s the only solution.
This is what secrecy gets you. Look at how well it’s served our current President. Secrecy ≠ Democratic values. It’s time for the process to be wide open, anything less is simply inadequate.
So the SCDP is running out in the street searching for cover now that the perception has shifted from hapless buffoonery to naked, backroom maneuvering.
Enjoy your new clothes, but as it gets colder, and any cover you might have found before is quickly disappearing.
There have been a flurry of posts concerning the ballot printed by the SCDP. While I cannot speak to the specifics of what actually happened, and don’t want to get involved in the speculation or finger pointing, what is clear is that the SCDP, like many other state and local party organizations, is suffering from a crisis of leadership throughout the organization.
Really, it’s a sad state of affairs, and it speaks to why people feel disillusioned with political parties in general. If, for instance, this was the result of an individual bad actor that used their position to push an agenda, then it illustrates why people feel disconnected from and suspicious of political parties. If, as some noted in private conversations, it was the result of an honest mistake or misunderstanding, then it gives people the perception that the party apparatus is either covering it’s ass for the previous hypothetical, or so dysfunctional that they can’t even get one of the most basic jobs it has right, informing the electorate of it’s positions.
I’ve been critical of the Democratic Party apparatus at all levels from time to time. Recently, I haven’t had much to say about the SCDP, because the SCDP hasn’t done anything that I’ve seen. The current Exec. Com. seems to believe that if they don’t do anything no one will criticize them. Maybe they were right, first thing out of the gate and people are screaming bloody murder.
As Brad at WTL and LWC note, there is most certainly something fishy about the whole scene. Even if it was a mistake, at this point it’s going to be a tough sell for Keith Norman to come out at 11:30 and plead incompetence, but that’s probably EXACTLY what he’ll do.
The reality is, perhaps incompetence is really to blame. The party has been stunningly absent throughout the entire campaign. If the SCDP is doing anything, the members of the Exec. Com. are the only ones that know, and many of them don’t even know. By all accounts, the whole County Party apparatus has ground to a halt.
This election season is almost over, so doing anything to make a big change at the SCDP right now seems impractical. Going forward, the members of the Exec. Com. need to think about how the past two years have gone. From the very first meeting of this group back in May of last year (where Richard Fields’ membership was called into question) there has been controversy and strife. Rank and file Democrats need to ask themselves about the role of the party going forward, and ask themselves if the same old people that have been involved for so long, need to stay involved or if there needs to be a top to bottom overhaul.
Personally, I believe that an overhaul is in order and the most important part of this overhaul needs to be communicating to rank and file Democrats in a manner other than back channels. There is a wealth of options out there, if the SCDP is willing to use them. All of the funding challenges that the SCDP was experiencing at the beginning of this term could be dealt with if rank and file Democrats felt engaged in the process, even if that engagement is merely as an audience member (audience meaning, email recipient, or blog reader, etc.). It’s time for the SCDP to take charge of its destiny instead of falling prey to the factionalism and discord that has marked the organization.
Finally, I want to make sure people understand that I respect and admire the individuals who dedicate their time to the local party apparatus. Despite the challenges and the screw-ups many of these people are dedicated to making Shelby County as well as the surrounding areas better. It’s easy to beat these people up on a blog, or in the paper, but the majority of them are really trying to make the party better for everyone. I wish my schedule would permit me to serve along side them on the SCDP Exec. Com., unfortunately, at this point that is not the case.
In any case I hope that Norman can come out today and level with the people of Shelby County. I hope that the Democratic Party apparatus will learn from this mistake and move forward in a positive direction. Most importantly, I hope that in the coming years the many factions that make up the SCDP can unite under a common cause, and realize their potential as a strong and thriving local party organization.