Please let me start by saying that this IS NOT a political post. This is about respectful communication, behavior, engagement and inclusion.
As a mediator I try to stay away from anything political, divisive or exclusive. Not to say I don’t have my personal opinions however I don’t think it is in the best interest of my business to be publicly sharing those views. I own a home in Whitby, I have a business and office in Whitby, I vote in Whitby.
I sit here today still shocked at the language from Mayor Don Mitchell at last night’s council meeting. I became aware of his comments last night; yes through social media, however was unsure if I should comment. Today is a new day, I have listened to his actual tone and words and I feel very strongly that I should in fact comment.
Now I don’t go to council meetings, I have a basic understanding of our local politics and the issues and I do know who all of the players are. Some of that just comes with having a business here and in previous years being very involved in local networking groups.
The new Town of Whitby logo was the first time that I have commented on anything that relates to politics. I did so not to be political but to share my view of the proposed new logo. I honestly thought that the logo was a deflated basketball. As a business person I know the value and strength of a logo. I know you shouldn’t need an explanation to share it’s meaning.
Thanks to social media I am now more aware of issues like this and I appreciate the opportunity to get informed. To hear that my voice is not valued as it was on social media and therefore should be mistrusted or that I am lumped in with complainers is inappropriate. The post I commented on was from Steve Lee with the question “What do you think?”. This was a convenient way for me to get involved in the conversation, to have a say, to find out what the issue was. For Mayor Mitchell to say that I contributed to a dark environment that is unpleasant, unfair and unreasonable is simply untrue!
Disagreements and conflict are a way of life, so is social media. To dismiss any opinions that come from a source you don’t believe in is narrow minded and exclusive. To use the language that you used is inappropriate. Respectful communication should be fundamental for a person in a position of leadership, you did not show leadership last night.
I expect better. I expect a voice. I expect to be valued. I expect to vote again. I expect an apology.