Friday, March 17, 2006

Facetious Wit and Sour Stomach

Yesterday I posted a letter describing a new idea. Doug asked that I post a follow-up.

Follow-up is that Mickey The Board President, who takes his role as leader of the group rah-tha seriously, hadn't read the letter until we got into the Board meeting, and started reading it before the meeting commenced. At first he thought I was completely serious and broke off reading to start peppering me with questions as to when I wanted to hold the meetings.

"Please keep reading."

"But if we hold the meetings during the day, then school staff and teachers cannot attend."

"Please keep reading."

Much chuckling ensued. Oh, I am a witty duck.

We never released the letter to the public, as we felt as if that would be mean to Ms. Fredericks. Does make it difficult now to talk about Powerpoint or family time without a knowing wink and smirk. Ah, the isolating quality of the inside joke.


In other news, I'm having one of those icky-political-things which crops up from time to time wherein I don't fully agree with a Board Member on an issue. We usually agree on everything.

This is simply me being sensitive, I'm sure, but we got into a conversation which has left a certain bad feeling in my throat. When we agree, generally I'm held up as being articulate, dedicated, insightful, principled, and smart. Well, that certainly feels nice. But then when differences of opinion crop up, the first conversation always seems to start with, "I thought you were part of the team."

We all want to believe that our opinions are so rational and principled that everyone who has two IQ points to rub together would instantaneously agree and lend support. So I understand where Fellow Board Member has hurt feelings because I didn't support her idea right out of the gate. But it deeply bothers me, in some sort of physical achey manner, to hear that I am expected to come along with the team because I'm now part of the majority.

Of course, I want everyone to instantaneously agree with me--since I am an obviously brilliant and principled person. Somehow to hear that I'm to come along with the team (although, really, I don't think that's what Fellow Board Member needs or wants) makes me nauseated. Maybe I haven't been principled and brilliant. Maybe I've been told that previously as an ego-stroking device.

In this instance at least, the disagreement isn't major. I voiced some hesitation about a proposed plan, but then said that I wanted the chance to talk about it further, since I'm always ready to discuss any topic publicly. This was enough of a signal to "my team" that I wasn't on board so that I've been chastised (non-verbally--a little too subtle to explain here). Then this morning, a Board Member who was once in the majority, but who is now in the minority, as I was previously for two years before the last election, a Member who has refused to speak to me for months, called me at home. She's so happy to have a friend on the Board, she says.

Eh, what?

We actually had a good conversation where I explained that although I have disagreed with her often (she supported closing an elementary school, I didn't; she voted against ratifying a union contract I had helped negotiate), I have never had an issue with her personally. We talked a lot about being in the minority--how you have to keep on saying what you want to say even if you know it will be voted down, how you have to stick to your views, even if they agree with someone's else's stereotype of you. I think she was surprised that I was so articulate, ahem, brilliant, ahem, and principled. She ended the conversation by saying that she hoped we could work together, and I ended by saying that I hoped we could still disagree respectfully. (I don't think she liked that part, but hey.)

So I called Fellow Board Member to say, "Hey. You'll never guess who called me this morning." Fellow Board Member replied, "Yeah. Well, I'm hardly surprised." Ouch. And this quickly turned to Fellow Board Member expressing surprise that I wasn't going along with the team.

I never ran for the Board to be part of a team. But it still hurts to hear that my opinions are valid when they agree with the Board President's, and my opinions are traitorous when they don't.

I have enough faith in everyone's mutual respect and ability to talk to now that we'll get through this. I don't even think the hurt feelings will last past the weekend. However, that first slug expecting loyalty to the cause still stings.

More later.


Megan Frampton said...

How come you're smart if you agree, and a rabble-rousing dissenter who is just doing it to be different if you don't? (NOt that you don't say the same thing much more intelligently).

It's a brave, strong, smart person who can stick to her guns even when she's in the minority. Yeah, it'll blow over, but those other people will remember you've got your own opinions and you won't be cowed. Moo.

Suisan said...

How come you're smart if you agree, and a rabble-rousing dissenter who is just doing it to be different if you don't?

Because we all believe deeply and strongly in helping the schools, and feelings get hurt when there isn't agreement.

Also, Im the swing vote in this situation which is tricky for me and unexpected for Fellow Board Member.

And when you stick to your guns only to end up in the majority on a no vote it's always interpreted by the minority as a bail-out or a display of weakness. More hurt feelings.

It's Friday--I'm getting the kids to bed and indulging in a Negroni.

CindyS said...

Politics *boom!! head explodes*

Hmmm, responses to such a remark.

'Being part of a team does not mean I'm anyone's bitch.' No, too inflammatory?

'I would think being a valuable member of any team means that debate and intelligent conversation is a given on any motion brought before this board. Blindly supporting each other will not get the issues before us resolved.' See, I can be civil but then I like the first response.

Course, I would ruin the above by then stating that 'your response tells me more about what you think about the project than it does about what you think of me. If you truly believe in what you are saying then you would relish any questions that would allow you to point out exactly how things will work. Now, I just think you are not nearly as confident in your proposal as you think you are.'

Yeah, there is a reason I am unemployable, I just wish I could pinpoint exactly what it is. ;)


Suisan said...

The righteous indignation is really easy to turn on (and rather fun too) when you REALLY disagree with someone you don't like or respect. And, boy, do I love that.

This is a different because I don't completely disagree with her plan, just remaining undecided, and I really respect this person and think of her as a friend. So it's hard to get uppity on this one.

I think my feelings are hurt that her feelings are hurt.

And we're supposed to be principled and dispassionate leaders. Not a complete success this week, eh?