The candidates running against the incumbent corporate officers of USA Dance have recently posted a statement calling for civility in the USA Dance national election. Yet I wonder why they have allowed their family members, friends and supporters to make very uncivil comments against me, Bill Rose and Esther Freeman on a daily basis.
Here is a sample: “That is a lie.” – This statement was made by the spouse of one of the challengers in response to a comment made by Esther Freeman on the USA Dance Candidates Facebook Forum. Is accusing the National Treasurer of lying the kind of civility the challengers support? Is this what they view as a higher level of discourse?
Then we have these comments made against the incumbents by the challengers’ supporters:
1) “Thanks to the lack of vision in the current incumbents at USA Dance”
2) “Illegally posted campaign message”
3) “They have already shamed themselves”
4) “Disgraceful but typical”
5) “The shocking cynicism and lack of responsiveness of the incumbents”
And these comments above are taken only from one Facebook page on one day. In fact, this type of rhetoric against the incumbents has been going on now for months. Is this the type of civility the challengers are talking about?
On another day on another Facebook page, a supporter of the challengers states that I was never elected to the presidency of USA Dance. Why have the challengers not stepped in to remind their supporters that there was a national election in 2010 in which all the current incumbents, including the National President, were elected to the positions they hold? Instead, the challengers seem to ignore such untruthful charges made by their supporters against the incumbents. This does not sound very civil to me.
In other posts, the incumbents have been called “imperious”, “out of touch”, “condescending” and “arrogant”, while USA Dance finances have been labeled as being “obscure”. Meanwhile, on the Candidates Facebook Forum, incumbents have been accused of “misleading” the membership, of “wasting” offers of help and of not being “transparent”. And to top it off, supporters of the challengers accused the full Executive Committee of USA Dance of “suspicious” behavior and of breaching a contract for “political retaliation”.
The challengers have accused the national officers of being “uncivil” for pointing out the challengers’ lack of experience at the national level of USA Dance. At the same time, the challengers allow their own supporters to denigrate the performance and accomplishments not only of the incumbents, but indeed of the entire Governing Council of USA Dance.
The challengers also take the incumbents to task for calling them a “takeover team”. Yet, have they not banded together to form a slate to take over not one or two corporate officer positions but in fact all the corporate officer positions of USA Dance? What is this if not a “takeover team”?
USA Dance national officials have worked for many years to ensure that our organization has a stellar reputation as a dance industry leader, yet the comments made by the challengers’ supporters are destroying USA Dance’s reputation, not to mention the reputation of all the national volunteers who work so hard year in and year out on behalf of the organization.
It is all well and good to call for civility, but one must first practice it and demand that one’s supporters do so as well. Regrettably, the challengers have not seen fit to do so.
If you are as disheartened as I am with such behavior, there is something you can do, and that is to vote for the incumbents. Let the challengers and their supporters know that USA Dance’s reputation is not to be sullied.
October 13, 2013 Addendum
While calling for civility from incumbents, the challengers have accused the incumbents of “negative, inaccurate, unfair and improper campaigning”. They have also taken incumbents’ comments out of context and have accused incumbents of “complacency” and a sense of “entitlement”. It is the challengers who are being uncivil, not the incumbents.