Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Blowing Off Steam

Recently I've been attempting to follow a discussion that has been occurring among members of a professional organization to which I belong. It's a trend that I've seen in other professional organizations to which I belong when voting migrates from a paper ballot that is mailed out to an electronic ballot. For years, members have been content with the brief sketches provided in a publication about each candidate. When the balloting moves to an online situation, those persons are no longer content with basic candidate information. They want to know more -- including the position each candidate would take on any individual position. (The suggested lists of questions were really somewhat amusing to read because many were "petty" questions that had nothing to do with the candidate's qualifications to serve in elected office.) I really disagreed with their statement that we knew nothing about the candidates. By having attended national conferences in that field, I knew each candidate who was running for an office, and I knew which ones I thought were the best persons to serve the organization. I also think that the committee responsible for elections did an excellent job of screening potential candidates for the positions. I think most of those listed as candidates would do an excellent job in advancing the organization. I know that in tough economic situations that it is sometimes not possible to attend a national professional conference each year, but when I see persons who claim to know nothing of the candidates, I question whether they've ever attended such a conference to enhance their own professional development. I have been purposefully vague on the discipline because I've seen the same thing repeated in others. I don't want to single out any organization because this statement applies to multiple ones to which I belong.