Saturday, February 11, 2006

Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents

A few days or weeks ago I inappropriately posted an email onto this blog that I had addressed to the President of the College Republicans. The email's content was basically my poor and inaffective attempt to extend the "olive branch".

I feel like Ben Stiller's character from the movie "Meet the Parents". In the movie Ben Stiller, despite his motives and intentions, can't seem to do anything right. And that's been my experience with trying to do something good.

I think my first mistake was printing my views about Iraq in Scroll. I still feel that my comments in that editorial were tame incomparison to what has been written about Iraq, however, I did fail to recognize who my audience was and that was a BIG mistake.

My second mistake was to start the College Democrats while publically claiming to be a registered Republican in Oregon. I should have just kept that part to myself. See, the thing is that I've never voted for a Democrat and until I came up here to Rexburg I had never ever considered being a Democrat. So was I lying and trying to make a show? Please believe me when I say that I was not. Was I wrong to make the claim of being a Republican? When considering my audience, yes.

My third mistake was not immediately replying to the College Republicans when they invited us to attend their State of the Union party. I didn't open the email until late that night and I forgot about it. Also, while it did come into mind I knew that I couldn't respond without first consulting the actual Democratic Leadership. That on top of communication errors led to us not replying. I know of at least one College Republican who seemed to me to be upset that we seemingly snubbed them. This can be seen at his website. This wasn't our intention at all. And I seriously regret our error.

My fourth mistake was to not make it blatantly and obviously clear that the poor attitudes towards the College Democrats on campus and at BYU-I was not officially, nor unofficially endorsed by the College Republicans. In news articles about me, or in posts or in anything that I've said what I have really meant is that the experience of the College Democrats is that we get an unfair shake from a lot of people. This unfair and mean attitude is not something that is taught by the College Republicans and the people portraying this attitude are not necessarily even members of the College Republicans. It was my mistake for not making that perfectly clear. However, let me now relate publically that many members of the College Democrats have been poorly treated because of their political affiliation. To deny this would be uncharitible and unrealistic and I personally feel that Joe Strickland's post entitled "College Democrats Continue to Widen the Divide" does not acknowledge nor condemn this unfair treatment.

My fifth mistake was to post an email that I had written to the President of the College Republicans without first asking her permission. I'm not making an excuse for my sin but please let me at least give a reason. I thought that the email was official and already public. I had CC'd the email to many people which she would have seen and it was written in an official manner. Regardless, it was poor manners to not ask her if she had any objections about my posting the email I wrote to her. I once again seriously regret this most recent mistake.

This is my public and deep apology for what I feel has been a series of preventable misunderstandings.

I do feel that Joe Strickland's post was an angry and emotionally charged reaction to my mistakes, but I cannot place too much blame on him. I wish that I would have done so many things differently and I also wish that Joe's post about me and the College Democrats wouldn't have been so assumptuous about our motives and intentions.

We've made many mistakes and unfortunately we'll continue to make more. I have especially made many mistakes, but they have not been intentional. What can I say? I'm Greg Focker.

I will state this however, when we have made mistakes, we own up to them.

Lastly, this is also my offical and final invitation to the College Republicans to meet with the Democratic Leadership in a private, intimate and friendly meeting. This invitation will always be open and it's in their ballpark now. I sincerely and literally pray that this unfortunate tension between our two groups will end.


Hannah Vinson said...

I have to respectfully disagree with your 'mistakes'. First, you should be free to publish your opinion even if the opinion of your audience differs. Second, you told the truth about being a Republican and you never should have to apologize for honesty. Third, why wasn't the invitation of the State of the Union sent to the CD leadership? I personally didn't recieve an invitation. I know that you are kind of our advisor, but there is a presidency too. Fourth, you have always said 'members' of CR, not CR itself. Finally, it might have been a mistake to post an official communication, but it was official and it didn't reflect badly on Lindsey at all. In fact, I thought better of her for having seen it.

The Hague said...

Well Ms. Vinson, you bring up some interest arguments against Peter's decision to "take the high road" and apologize for mistakes that he has made. Your stance is rather unfortunate and reflects poorly upon your character.

I will agree with you that we all should have the right to publish our opinions. However, when someone voices their opinion on a controversial issue, they should expect a little bit of feedback from their audience. CDs are not the only people who receive negative backlash about their views. Last semester Tanner Nielsen, then president of the CRs, wrote an article for The Scroll (this blog provides a link to it.) His article expressed his opinion and the opinion of the College Republicans.

After this article was printed, Heather Swallow posted an article on your blog claiming that Mr. Nielsen's article didn't "give justice to the issues."

So let me get this straight... when someone presents views that the CDs agree with then those views are obviously the truth, but when someone presents the other side of the story, those views don't "give justice to the issues." Now that I understand where you are coming from, I can understand you better.

Second of all, the State of the Union invitation WAS sent to a member of the CD leadership, was it not? Is Peter not involved in your leadership? If accepting the invitation was not his decision, why did he not forward it to the proper leaders in the CD organization? Peter was our only contact in your club, and that is why we extended the invitation to him.

Third, the BYU Idaho College Republicans does not endorse inappropriate behavior toward anyone based on their political views. I know that you are not saying that we do, but you ARE saying that members or our organization are carrying out unfortunate misdeeds against members of the CD. Well, there are nearly 12,000 students on this campus and only about 200 of them are registered members of the BYU Idaho College Republicans. Chances are that whoever is to blame for the negativity against members of your club are not actually members of ours.

My challenge to you is to stop pointing fingers and start doing something about it. One big problem that I can see is that your club seems reclusive. Nobody on campus knows anything about you. When they think of "Democrats" they think of abortion and gay marriage, which are obviously issues that the CDs do not endorse. I suggest that you do a better job of educating the students on this campus as to what it means to you to be a democrat. Consider the offer that the College Republicans have made to have a debate this semester. Our primary goal in such a debate would be to educate the student body so that they can make an educated decision as to where they stand politically.

Anonymous said...

Hey Joe,

Great comments, however, I do think that it's poor form to comment on someone's character after reading one post.

Also, it's seems like you're infering that we only THINK that some member of the CR's have been less than saintly to us, we actually KNOW it. We're glad to know that the CR's don't endorse it and that you're battling that behavior among all people, CR's or CD's.

As for the debate, we're still discussing it.

Also, I'm the author of the post entitled "Scroll article doesn't give justice to the issues". It's a fluke that it has Heather's name. I don't quite understand where you get the idea that we called Tanner's article untrue. Or that we accuse opposing views of being untrue. We just disagree.

Anyhow, great comments, we're young and we have a lot to learn. Thanks.

Bubblehead said...

I'm a parent of a BYU-I student, and a fairly experienced blogger, so I thought I'd inject a quick point. In the blogosphere as a whole, it's considered perfectly proper to post an E-mail you send to someone else, as long as you don't include their E-mail address. It's also OK to post an E-mail they send to you, unless they specifically asked you not to. Just expect that they'll retalitate in kind, though.