Friday, September 04, 2009

Shell Shocked.

There has been a lot in local blogs about Greensboro City Council candidate Ryan Shell. I've made a number of comments at the other sites and figured it was probably time to talk about where I'm coming from. Basically? Nowhere. I don't have a dog in this particular fight other than as a responsible voter who tries to make good choices. I have worked on a few campaigns over the years and watch the candidates closely.

Generally, my blog is a place for fun. I'm going to get serious for a moment.

How did this all get started?

My daughter worked with Ryan a few years ago, so naturally she was very excited to see him running for City Council in her hometown. She "Facebook friended" him. I hadn't paid much attention to the Council races yet. There were some people I would clearly support and some I had yet to learn about. Ryan was one of those I needed to learn more about.

When the No Hate In Our Town petition came up, I sent the link to my children, all of whom signed it. Carrie got the idea to send the link to Ryan. He responded, "It is a group of individuals that desire to have a peaceful meeting in Greensboro." She called me. I was flabergasted. I tend to not put "nazis" and "peaceful" in the same sentence. I asked her to copy the conversation for me because I'm not able to get on Ryan's Facebook page. She and I both thought it was an irresponsible comment from someone who wants to be a leader in this town. THEN he obfuscates by saying he signed the petition because it "...affirm[s] my commitment to continuing our community's efforts to build a Greensboro free of bias, bigotry and racism. That is a statement I believe in and why I signed it. That statement could or could not have a thing to do with the conference."

Carrie pointed out to him that the sentence before the sentence he quoted said the petition WAS in response to the nazi meeting here.

Instead of trying to clear it up, communicate well, and answer questions he goes on further to say, "...I'm not really sure where you are going or what you are trying to accomplish here. I'd have been just fine if the event was given no attention at all. The part I quoted is very universal in my eyes. Feel free to send me a message if you have more in depth questions."

Today on his website he says: "I must say that it is a bit disturbing that someone has the time, and interest, to copy posts from my personal Facebook page. Let me be very clear about one thing. I use Facebook to communicate with friends and not specifically for campaign purposes. It appears I need to go through and do a little defriending because the comment copying thing is just weird to me." Let's deconstruct this, shall we?

  • "I must say that it is a bit disturbing that someone has the time and interest to copy posts from my personal Facebook page." Carrie did this because I don't have access to his page and wanted to see the "peaceful meeting" nazi thing for myself. It is not a general practice.

  • "I use Facebook to communicate with friends and not specifically for campaign purposes." But there are campaign items on that page, are there not?

  • "...I need to go through and do a little defriending..." Okay. He doesn't want to talk about it so he's going to take his Facebook page and go home. Carrie will be punished, "defriended," for her evil deeds!

  • "... but the copying FB posts for future use, such as what you are doing is strange to me. It’s more of a “ha ha see see I got you” type thing." Honestly, that was NOT the case. Copying what I considered to be an incendiary statement happened just the once. I've explained why it was done. No, we don't need to go around doing that. Nobody "got" him. I simply asked for him to explain what he said. If that constitutes some sort of "got you" then there are issues of paranoia no amount of blogging can fix. I don't think I was unreasonable and was never out to "get" him. If he'd been upfront and answered questions honestly, we wouldn't be here.

  • "...but want you to know that I am moving forward so that I can continue to focus on things that need to be done in Greensboro." In other words, "I'm not going to talk about it anymore." Ryan then offers me the opportunity to call him. I'm not going to and here's why:

David Hoggard said, "if one creates a perception problem through any particular form of communication, they should assuage, or correct, that problem through the medium first utilized." Friend speaks my mind. This started in an online venue, I don't see any reason to do something else. If I were to be completely honest, I want it in writing. I don't want to have a conversation, then have him say later, "I didn't say that." Why would I think that? I base it on a history, albeit short, of Ryan saying one thing then doing another. That's fair, isn't it?

Ryan said, "You don’t like me..." My intellectual side has a problems with this statement. It has nothing to do with liking or disliking anyone. I question what he says. I'm concerned about what he does. I'm not convinced that he has the temperment for elected office. He certainly has the energy and the passion. But for him to say "you don't like me," indicates to me some immaturity. The emotional side of me feels like he's saying, "Mommy, the big, 'ole mean lady isn't being nice to me."

This post has gone on longer than usual for me, but I felt as if I needed to explain to people, COMMUNICATE with people what brought me to this place. If it feels like I'm beating up on Ryan, I'm sorry. I don't mean to be, but it seems like everytime someone asks him a question, it just raises MORE questions.

The primary is just around the corner. I'm in the process of deciding for whom I will vote. But clearly, based solely on his response to serious questions in the last week, it will not be Ryan. Sorry.