Let’s talk politics today. We won’t get into the crazy things going on at the national level as all sorts of races heat up heading toward November. Instead, I want to talk about a different election that’s coming up, one that coincidentally will also happen this coming November, and also has a bunch of crazy stuff going on behind the scenes that may make the results interesting.
If you have been a ballroom dancer for a long enough period of time, you have probably heard about the two major ballroom dancing organizations that have footing in this country. Heck, you may even be a member of one (or both) of them. I was a member of both for a long time, but I let the membership of one of them lapse and just couldn’t see a reason to renew it, so at the moment I only remain a member in one of them. Both of these groups combined run the majority of the major ballroom competitions in the country, and require you to join them if you want to compete in any of their events. If you’re a competitor, you probably know exactly which groups I’m talking about… but we’ll leave their names out of the discussion to avoid anyone on their payrolls from looking at this post.
One of these two groups was originally put together as a volunteer-based organization to support dancing, and the people who run the group at the national level are supposed to be elected democratically from among the membership. The next election to choose the leadership at the national level for this organization is supposed to happen this year in November. I’m guessing that the actual process of getting all the members to vote in the election is going to be the same as it was last time this happened, which was a fairly simple online ballot, so there’s no worry about giving all the members a chance to vote during a pandemic. I’m sure there will be a lot of people that don’t like technology that will complain about the lack of paper ballots being available, but that’s not the point of this post, so we’ll avoid that topic.
There have been a lot of discussions that started up recently regarding the elections, and from the sound of things there may be some shifty business going on behind the scenes with the committee that validates the candidates who have thrown their hats in the ring to be placed on the ballot. A number of people have come forth and disclosed that they have submitted their names to be considered for various positions at the national level of this organization, and all of these people have stunning qualifications to prove that they would be suited to take over the role they wanted to be elected to, but for some reason they were not going to be allowed to be on the ballot.
Some of the candidates were informed that they were not going to be eligible, though the person from the committee that told them they would not be on the ballot did not give them a reason why they were rejected even when asked. A couple candidates said that they didn’t even find out from the committee that they were rejected. The names of all the candidates who were going to appear on the ballot were released and a few people who submitted their names were surprised to find that they were not on the list. When they tried to contact someone to see if they could find out why they weren’t listed, they were also not able to get a reason from anyone on the committee. All they received was a confirmation that they weren’t going to be added.
As you can imagine, once the first candidate got angry enough and came forward to let the general membership of the organization know that they had been left off the ballot with no reason given, a number of other candidates stepped forward and did the same. With so many candidates, who all seemed to be good people perfectly capable of filling these roles, reporting that they were rejected with no explanation, a lot of anger was stirred up. Some members were demanding that the committee that was reviewing candidates release all their notes so that their decision-making process was more transparent. Others wanted the committee to be thrown out. A few stopped just short of demanding their heads put up on pikes at the top of the city walls as a warning. So much anger!
The big complaints that showed up over and over again was that this process for choosing which candidates were allowed to be on the ballot was A) not transparent, and B) not democratic. A shadowy sub-organization within the organization was going through and choosing which people they wanted to be on the ballot. There is no complete list of who is in this sub-organization publicly available, so no one really knows how large that committee is or how to get a hold of anyone other than the designated spokesperson to ask questions. Conspiracies about backroom deals and limiting the choices to just a single candidate that the committee preferred to be elected abounded.
Many members who heard the rejected candidates stories were furious that they were not given an opportunity to make the choice themselves. If a person was willing to go through all the effort to fulfill the requirements listed to be considered for addition to the ballot, why not just add their name to the ballot and let the voters decide? Why weed out the candidates at all? Theoretically, if a candidate is truly unfit for office, the membership would vote for someone else to hold that position. That’s how democracy is supposed to work, right? Quite a few people even threatened to cancel or not to renew their membership in the organization because of these shenanigans as well.
I guess that the anger of the vocal members managed to seep through to the current leadership of the organization. After a couple long days since the first disclosure by one of the rejected candidates, the current leadership released a statement that said they were working on writing up a process that would allow the nominees to receive the reasoning behind why they were left off the ballot as a first step. Once that is done, they said they will create a process that will allow any candidates that do not agree with the decisions a way to appeal and seek reconsideration. The deadline for finalizing the list of candidates was also extended to later this month to provide enough time for this all to happen.
Supposedly, once all the candidates have had a chance to get the reasons and possibly appeal them and the ballot list has been finalized, with the candidates approval they will also publish all the documentation regarding the initial decision and any appeal so that all members of the organization who are interested can review everything if they desire. This is the first time that documentation of this nature will ever be released to the public, and it may be interesting to go through to figure out what their line of thinking is when reviewing candidates for the national offices.
Whew. Still with me here?
Did you really think that it was only politics at the national level of our country that were contentious? Dance politics seem to be just as rife with shady things going on as national politics, as you can see. Does this make you excited about voting in November? I mean for this dance election, not for the other election…
Hopefully the world of dance politics quiets down a bit now that this issue was yanked into the light where people could see what is happening. It seems to be working its way toward a resolution at this time. It will be interesting to see if any of the formerly rejected candidates speak up about how the appeal process is working for them, and if it is being handled fairly by the election committee. I wonder how many candidates will actually be on the ballot by the time the election in November rolls around.
We’ll have to see what happens as we keep getting closer to election day.
As a side note before I finish… It has been weird to me to find out that I have actually met a lot of these candidates who are running for these national offices. Some of them I’ve met several times, and I know we would recognize each other if we passed while walking down the street. I’ve met them in the past while I was serving on the Royal Dance Court, or I’ve taken private lessons from them after one competition or another I went to, or I happened to be in the right place at the right time and someone introduced us, etc..
I didn’t really realize how connected I was to the world of dance politics until I saw all these names and could easily put faces to them. I’m not usually good at knowing people’s names unless I’ve met them a few times, so that’s saying something. So weird.