This post is strictly a personal response to why we cancelled the "Meet your Representative" night at The Market. Don't feel obligated to read.
Last week I posted on facebook that The Market would be hosting a "Meet your Representative" night. It was not a political rally, but simply an opportunity to meet and share any concerns/questions with our current representative in Lansing in an evening forum.
On Thursday I received a public comment via The Boulevard Market's facebook page. The post was written by a long time customer went to the gist of this "please keep your political inclinations out of the market....we won't shop there....this state representative ruined my life.....she is anti-women....why wasn't the democratic opponent invited....".
Since I take my customers comments and concerns to heart, I cancelled the event. I explained to the customer that I would never choose politics over people, and I stand by that. I do think that a response is in order for those of you wondering "what just happened here?" and why I chose to host this event in the first place!
Why I wanted to host the event: John and I have frustrations regarding "meet and greet" events with state/federal representatives. Most of the events are held at 8am and if you have children or a job, they are impossible to attend! I felt it was a benefit to the community to host an event in the evening that constituents are actually able to attend and are able to have a voice in our community. This event was clearly explained and was not to be a political rally. Does this woman or others publicly complain when the local diner or coffeehouse has a morning "Coffee Hour" with government officials? Does she boycott their business too? Does she encourage her friends and family to NOT show up and be involved, only complain via facebook?
This was never about who we support, and it offends me that I would be personally attacked because of assumptions. It was said "you should have this at your home" WHY? I should invite the general public to my home to meet their own government representative? That is absolutely ludicrous.
It doesn't matter who John and I personally support, this was meant to bring the government to the people. Community involvement is important to us and this is one facet we have concerns about. We should have representatives that are available and present in our community.
Why the (Democratic) opponent wasn't invited. Why would they be? This wasn't any sort of political debate or discussion of viewpoints. This was about our current representative. If the opponent wins the election in November and would like to have the same sort of deal at The Market...great, they would have been welcomed, just like the current one is! But that will not happen now, because of the accusations.
The ever present "Anti-Women" statement and continued support of The Market. Please read this post to see my thoughts on everything anti-women. The fact that accusations were made to a WOMAN OWNED business and then announced that she would no longer support my business tells me so much. This is after the fact that both she and her husband have repeatedly asked for The Market's financial support (and it was given) to charities that they believe in and are on the executive boards of for the last several years. Do you think those charities no longer want my donations based on this situation, but yet she is willing to financially hurt my company? In the long run, any financial repercussions to this event hurts the entire community. It has always been my mission to support this community because they have so wonderfully supported us. I have never changed that mission, regardless of which side of the political arena you inhabit. It's always been about working TOGETHER to better Lenawee County!
I do not treat people poorly because they have differing views on politics. I have many friends and family members that have varied political views. We all seek to UNDERSTAND each other and discuss our opinions. There is always common ground we can agree on and if we disagree, we do not verbally attack each other publicly or privately. We do not divide our family, friends or community into political allies or opponents. We do not make business decisions based on any company's politics and we support the leaders of our community. If we have concerns/comments, we take it to them personally...we don't attack them online.
I am saddened by the fact that politics would be so divisive in this situation. I am also disgusted that this woman would consider herself a leader amongst friends and the community and would behave in such an appalling manner publicly. I am personally hurt that she would not call me directly and explain her opposition to the event, as I am always willing to listen and could have alleviated any fears she might have and encouraged her to come to the event and discuss her grievances to the state rep. I am also hurt that she would rather be vengeful to my self/business and publicly air her problems with this state rep through The Market's facebook page, instead of supporting the democratic process and bitching in person!