Citizen Editor considered very carefully this week about whether to comment on the current national event dominating the evening news, and whether such comment would violate our Mission, Vision, and Values statements.
Yet, this posting has zero to do with the alleged conduct itself, because none of that really matters; none of that is particularity interesting or even necessary to know, and none of that is even relevant to our posting. And interestingly yet not surprising, none of those issues even matter to the plaintiff; she has been clear from the beginning what her motives are - and they are fully human.
This posting digs deeper, digs deep down to how good behavior toward others is at the foundational level to prevent gossip in the first place. Our nation is being given a textbook example of how to prevent gossip - at work, and at home. What we can observe - if we are willing to look beyond any repugnant details - is the heart of the reason that gossip is spread in the first place. And that is to get even, to extract revenge, or to create fear in another person, often in order to equalize a power imbalance.
What I care about today is not what did or didn't occur behind closed doors with the two characters. I care about how you're treating the people on your estate, the ones who do a job for you, whatever the task at hand, and you then ignore them. Maybe you ignore them because you don't even realize it, or maybe you do and it's because there's a power imbalance; perhaps they know or possess or can do something better than you can - and that scares you.
Not only ignore them, yet you disavow their existence and in essence threaten to harm them if they ask to be recognized not only for their efforts, yet also for their existence, and by doing so, you are sending a message to others about them, and you are spreading gossip that they are unworthy.
Throughout this entire dramatic week on national news, I couldn't help but think of the interpersonal communication studies I enjoyed a few years ago, and as the years went by I realized my professors at USF were 100% right: the most corrosive, the most belittling thing you can do to another human being is to ignore them, to diminish their efforts, to pretend they don't even exist. Because its' a foundational need that humans have - to be acknowledged.
And disavowing their efforts sends a message - and it's gossip.
And it doesn't matter what someone's task is to be provided, or where - whether that's repairing the smart-home technology that's broken down again, serving coffee at the local truck stop diner, polishing bathrooms clean at Motel 6 or Four Seasons, teaching math to your kids, repairing your flat tire on the side of the road, catering your event this weekend for 600, or even providing more personalized services between consenting adults.
No human being can stand to be ignored, and every human being deserves the respect and appreciation of everyone else. Think that's not true? Well you could try it today on your estate, just as an experiment, just to see what happens.
It will send a message out to those around you, one just as powerful as if you were whispering into others' ears.
And as we see this play out time and time again no matter where, when this foundational rule is broken, there's always a storm.