I wrote last week that this week should prove to be interesting because two of our three candidates for statewide APSCUF president were visiting. They’ve both been here, and although I’m not surprised that their visits didn’t especially clarify anything, that still doesn’t get me much closer to understanding what to do.
Honestly, I was more impressed with Burrell’s visit than Pat’s. Burrell, whatever else we might think of him, is candid, thorough, thoughful (to a fault sometimes). I just don’t have the sense that he’s enough of a leader to bring us back from the harm we did ourselves last fall. During his visit, I kept asking what he’d do to repair the damage we’ve done ourselves, and all he could say was that he’d encourage more open, substantive debate about issues. Heaven knows we need that, but it doesn’t address my actual concern, which is how we heal very specific, concrete scars. In other words, it’s a nifty principle, one which I also subscribe to, but it’s irrelevant until members can stand being a room with each other, y’know?
Pat’s visit was troubling. As always, she’s charming and inspiring. In this instance, though, she really danced visibly and uncomfortably about some issues, to such an extent that I don’t believe her answers. First, when a colleague asked her what she thought about the timing of the APSCUF-SO campaign, her response was that the staff had been stewing on it for a while and it all just came together. Bunk. We know that the staff felt harassed and threatened during negotiations; it’s public knowledge. Second, I asked the same question about how she’d work to repair our internal damage, and her response was that she didn’t realize what had happened. She claimed not to know, for example, that the meeting at IUP last summer was organized specifically to fight contract ratification. How could she not know that, especially because (by several accounts) she was on the phone with the person who’d called the meeting while it was happening? She also claimed not to know about the little flare-up between that same person and me at the September Legislative Assembly (this was when I started naming names to her). Cliff, our chapter president, god (whichever one you believe in) bless him, actually stepped in and asked her how she could not have known about that because HE TOLD HER.
So, at this point, we seem to have a choice between an honest (relatively) candidate without the requisite mobilizing skills and an inspiring candidate we can’t trust.