Friday, August 26, 2011
Some people need drama; they can't breathe without excitement going on around them at all times, whether it be good or bad, it just has to be. I'm really truly not one of those people. Really I'm not. I love my tranquility, my library on quiet days, my candles at night and a good book. I am anti-drama. Not because it's always been that way, but because I have been cursed with anxiety when life is unsettling. To me, there is nothing better than calm. That is truly when I am at my happiest.
Yet, somehow, I constantly find myself in the middle of controversy. I don't want it, I don't ask for it, and yet...it seeks me out like a compass during a storm. It finds me and pulls me in without my approval. How is it that the one thing I detest is the one thing that keeps finding me? Like the only mouse in a ten mile radius will seek me out. Why? Because I hate mice.
And so, here I am in the middle of this San Ramon controversy all because I commented on a news story. Now, bear in mind that my cousin Becky calls me "The Chosen One" because....I think that's how she makes me feel better when I am stuck in crap up to my neck. I call her "The Stable One" but that story is for another day. In sum, when their is an injustice, I am the one to speak up. That's how I get myself in trouble. I'm the little boy in The Emperor's New Clothes (only I'm a girl) that says "But he isn't wearing any clothes!"....and everybody ghaaaaasssssppppppssssss that I have revealed the truth. Because people in power do not like to be challenged. It is a threat to their throne. Apparently, this makes me "The Chosen One" because I tell it like it is when I see an injustice.
The gist of this story is that I made a comment under a local news story that I was told by the City Manager differently than what the City was telling the news (i.e. I know a lie when I read one). I commented. That's all I had to do. Suddenly, I found myself in a blog spread across the front of the on-line local news that RENAE WILBER (only they spelled it U-R) was the chief suspect of who was thought to be distributing anti-Walmart fliers causing an uproar amongst our City leaders. Oh, and I guess the fliers caused the phones to ring off the hook.
Whether you're following me or not - I learned something valuable from all of this that I would like to share. How quickly we jump on a bandwagon or point a finger and how powerful suggestion can be. The City was antsy to find who dared speak out against their stance...anxious to find the person they could place blame on and burn at the stake. I BECAME THAT PERSON. The sad part is, IT WASN'T ME! At first I found myself laughing that I would have such power and publicity over something I didn't do, and then as I really thought about it, I found it downright frightening....and so I used my voice, my words again to remind people of the damage a mob mentality can create, or one person pointing a finger without full proof can cause. The good news is, I guess, that I have a voice, and I will continue to use my voice, and if I end up in the middle of drama, well it's not because I want it but because "I Am The Chosen One"....which I don't really believe by the way.
But here was my latest response, which is good for us to think about when we fall prey to gossip and hearsay. Had this happened centuries ago, I'm sure I would have been stoned by now. The Great News is, it's 2011.
Dear San Ramon Residents,
We are all an intellectual bunch, which I've observed in my 20 years of living here; and yet....someone like Roz Rogoff who claims to have a Ph.D. has managed to put into the minds of our community, to suggest to others (oh the power of suggestion) that I am the witch the City Council/Mayor/City Attorney/Planner, etc. etc. are in search for. The person who has become the subject of great controversy, if only a controversy for the mere fact that our City government does not like to be questioned or challenged. My friends, my neighbors, my coworkers, my peers....we are not a community made up of people who stand for a "Lord of the Flies" mentality. We are hard working, family loving, friendly, spirited, volunteer minded, take care of our neighbors people. A mob mentality is what we are NOT and we should never be. Some of my favorite City Council members do not share my politics, and yet, I have cared for their children (little Meredith Perkins who was entrusted in my care for one week while her parents, Elizabeth and Scott Perkins left to the East Coast to visit their son). Mayor Wilson has honored me with an award for my volunteer work in the community. And yet -- we, such an inquisitive, intellectual, critically thinking, independent minded bunch have jumped onto the Salem Witch Trial bandwagon, spearheaded by Roz Rogoff....and many of you fell for it! Today I am sad. I am ashamed of you who pointed the finger at me. Who smeared my name in the press as the "chief suspect" and of those of you who bought into it, because I had a few opinions and facts to share. Roz Rogoff wrote a fine column, she very articulately wrote suggestively and used enough of my words to provoke the minds of truly intelligent people that I had committed the crime; although their was no crime all along. She used the persuasive speech tactics that she learned in high school and mastered while obtaining her Ph.D. I'm sure. But she was cruel in her words. She left out the words I've spoken that would have without doubt invalidated her story. Additionally, she walked the fine line of slander. Beyond that, she used an innocent party to build herself up, to bring shameless publicity to her own writing, and to convince you that there is a witch to burn in San Ramon. Lest you forget the power of a mob mentality, the power of suggestion, and the story of The Lord of the Flies....the attached link will take you to the victims who were hung after the Salem Witch Trials. I believe I deserve a public apology from Roz Rogoff, but beyond that, I am left so sad by the community I believed in. Renae Wilber
Had this happened centuries ago, I'm sure I would have been stoned by now. The Great News is, it's 2011 -- and I will continue to use my voice and deal with drama afterwards.
Sweet dreams and always GOOD dreams,