Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An Open Post To Steven Foley

First, the background:

On Saturday, July 17, 2010 - I retweeted a simple message on twitter that led to a couple of responses from someone I had never heard of before, Steven Foley of The Minority Report - you can check out his Twitter Feed here and his Web Site here - here's our entire twitter conversation:

OK, now everyone is up to speed on what got us to this point.

Let me start off with a couple of apologies - first, Mr. Foley, the remark I made about the high school debate class was meant to be a light attempt at humor, it may have come across more snarky than intended. Second, I said I would have this ready Monday, I failed - sincere apologies.

And, in the interest of full disclosure (as it has some bearing on the discussion) - I am the former Communications Director for the Republican Party of Delaware (2001-2006), currently employed in private industry.

Now, I would like to take this opportunity to explore the relationship we've started.

Mr. Foley,

In your first message to me, you accuse me of either being a paid hack or a born fool - my response was intended to be an invitation for you to take a moment to maybe get to know who you're attacking and possibly try a different approach to engage in conversation. Instead, you respond with "truth hurts" and "bring it" - *sigh*

Steven - can I call you Steven - from what I can tell, you live in Las Vegas, Nevada - well over 2,000 miles from Delaware. I can only assume that you will not be voting in either a primary election nor general election here in Delaware. Based on our brief exchange and a quick look at your posts on twitter and your web site, I'm going to go out on a limb and speculate that you don't actually know Congressman Castle (I'm assuming that you have volumes of files on the voting record of Congressman Castle and every other incumbent you have deemed unworthy of re-election in the country, but we both know that's not the same as knowing someone). You see, Steven, most of us here in Delaware do know our Congressman (and Senator Carper and Senator Kaufman and Vice-President Biden and Governor Markell and... well, you get the idea). Steven, we don't always agree with every position our elected officials make, but I can tell you that we can and do have those conversations with them - we engage in open discussions and debates, and rarely does it turn into personal attacks and insults just to score points.

But here's the thing, Steven, we're working hard here in Delaware to create an atmosphere where people feel free to express their support for their candidates and ideas without fear of needless insults (please note, we're not talking about avoiding debate - we're talking about elevating that debate in the hopes of making things better).

Steven, I want to point you to a truly incredible piece written by my good friend Dave Burris - he does a much better job of expressing all of this than I can.

Steven, I've read through several of your recent posts on twitter - and you seem like someone who is angry and frustrated at how certain things are in the world. Steven, I share your frustration, I think we, as a society can do better. And yes, there was a time when I would have been right there with you, blasting candidates I deemed unworthy and insulting those candidate's supporters. I have to tell you from experience Steven, tearing other people down does not lift you up - and no matter how much you prove someone else is wrong, it doesn't make you right by default.

Steven, let me share with you some of the things we're doing here in Delaware to make things better.

Some of us are frustrated with unemployment, so we got together and started Community Matters Networking Group - a place for the unemployed to meet, help each other out, share job leads, and encourage each other.

Families facing homelessness is a major issue, so we started a Family Promise chapter here in Delaware.

Recently, some of us got really frustrated about companies that are actually stating in their "Help Wanted" ads that those who are currently unemployed need not apply. We could have written angry letters, called for boycotts, pushed for legislation, but instead we decided to provide a platform where those companies that are doing it right can be showcased - take a look at Hire The Qualified.

Steven, these are just a few examples - and I'd really like for you to take a look at the kind of community we're trying to encourage in social media - click here for the #netde twitter feed - do you see what's there, Steven? News, information, people supporting each other's causes and businesses - this is the kind of place I feel comfortable with my family sharing and being a part of, where I feel comfortable that my teenage children can post their support for any candidate, philosophy, or idea and not be subjected to personal attacks from someone who doesn't even know them.

Please note, Steven, I'm not trying to censor you, I don't want to stop anyone from voicing their opinions - I'm just asking that you take a moment to think about how you can be more effective and engaging with your opinions.

Steven, if you're travels bring you to the mid-Atlantic area, I invite you to come here to Delaware, I would be happy to introduce you to some of the great people we have here from all across the political and social spectrum, we might even have the opportunity to meet with Congressman Castle, you might find him to be an intelligent and engaging public servant.

Seriously Steven, I hope you'll consider this, think about ways you can take your energy and intelligence and use it to forward creative and innovative ideas we can all support instead of looking for ways to attack those with whom you disagree. Thanks for reading this, I hope we have a chance to work together towards some common goals.

Your new friend in Delaware,


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