Wednesday, June 13, 2012

'Insuring' the Status Quo at Gold Star Wives

As a candidate for the Board of Directors of Gold Star Wives of America, I expected at least some resistance to the ideas that I propose, if only because I see such a pressing need for the organization to step up its advocacy on behalf of surviving spouses. That said, I didn't expect this kind of opposition. On the Gold Star Wives Facebook page, Gold Star Wives national outreach chair Rachel Clinkscale publicly scolded me for my platform, writing:
"You should not be posting GSW information on this Facebook (sic), Social Networking sites is (sic) not covered under the organizations insurance, only the monitored internet site are (sic) covered."
The claim that a candidate for the board of directors of an organization should not speak openly about what they would do if elected because of so-called "insurance" reasons is such ridiculous folly, I won't bother to examine it; I'll only ask what it seeks to achieve. Clearly Ms. Clinkscale is threatened by new ideas to improve Gold Star Wives. Clearly Ms. Clinkscale seeks to squelch discussion of new ideas.

Yet new ideas and thoughtful discussion is exactly what Gold Star Wives needs if it is to achieve its mission of advancing the cause of surviving spouses.

Ms. Clinkscale continues:
[Y]ou have some very ambitious plans like taking over the Chairman of the Board and National President's positions.
The claim that a member of the board of directors of an organization usurps the positions of the Chairman and National President by declaring an agenda that they seek the organization to adopt is equally ridiculous folly. As a board member, I would have only one vote with which to advance any proposal. Thus any proposal, be it mine, or anyone else's, will require the support of board members. Thus any proposal, be it mine, or anyone else's, will require the support of the majority of the members of Gold Star Wives.

Lastly, as national outreach chair of Gold Star Wives, Ms. Clinkscale wrote in the Gold Star Wives' March newsletter that "sometimes we don't agree with the life styles of the younger widow but it's not our place to judge them –  just love them."

Perhaps I should add a final point to my platform. I seek a more effective organization that welcomes new members. As such, I will not sit silently when people in charge of outreach patronize younger widows with such condescending statements as Ms. Clinkscale's.

So yes, I will work to change attitudes for the better. Our needs as surviving military spouses deserves no less.

UPDATE: My platform has been removed from GSW's Facebook page. Corinna Gibson-Ashmead deleted my post claiming in a message to me that "a good point was made that not everyone is on FB and therefore it is not an equal/fair platform presentation for all candidates." Ms. Gibson-Ashmead refused to indicate who made this "good point" and stated that she was acting out of her own independent judgement as Facebook administrator.

Needless to say, I disagree with this action. Rather than squelch discussion and debate, I think that GSW should be encouraging potential leaders to share their ideas for the future of the organization. Furthermore, there's nothing to say that members could not assist the less technically savvy in getting the word out. I, for one, would be happy to host any candidate's ideas on my website if it was thought that doing so would help serve the larger interest of the organization.

At root, we should be working to raise the bar, not lower it.

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