Last night I attended a grassroots meeting held about an hour from here; the meeting was sponsored by Grey2K and the Humane Society of the US. Both groups sent me an email about the meeting, and both emails mentioned start time was 6 PM.
At 6 PM I rolled up, only to learn the meeting actually started at 5 PM. Those in the know were able to meet and greet, eat fancy food, and get some cool swag.
I asked a woman who was apparently in charge if I could at least register as having attended. The woman gave me a snotty look and said that I was too late for that, but I could still listen to the speakers.
What the f….?
Now I wouldn’t be so petty as to mention the experience if this was the only time something like this had happened. Except it’s not the only time. It seems to happen EVERY time I attend one of these animal welfare advocacy events.
I’ve been to meetings. I’ve attended Lobby Day Events in both Florida and Tennessee. And it’s always the same- within the attendees is a distinct separation between the upper middle class that seem to be running the show, and the rest of us. They’re not happy about it, but they begrudgingly allow rabble like me to attend, though they would NEVER trust one of us do anything important. Their unspoken message to us is, “just stand to the side and be quiet, and maybe they won’t notice you’re here.”
Of course, they change their tune when they learn I’m a blogger, but it’s too late. I’ve seen their true colors.
Why the fuck does this keep happening? The movement needs EVERYONE on board, including people like me who don’t run in the hoidy-toidy social circles. Do you REALLY think you’re going to change the outlook for animals alone? Perhaps you don’t think it, but you sure as hell act like it.
Is that why when I apply for jobs with these agencies, I never get an interview, or even an acknowledgement? Is my hair not blonde enough? My family not rich enough? Is it because I lack that sense of condescension that seems to be prevalent among the lot of you?
Animal welfare advocacy groups might want to take lessons from politicians such as State Senator Don Gaetz, who attended last night’s meeting. When I introduced myself to Sen. Gaetz as a constituent in his district, he was very polite. And he should be. He’s smart enough to know that if I made the effort to attend that meeting, I will also make the effort to vote, regardless of how I dress or talk. And I don’t have to vote for him.
So to you advocacy groups, here’s a word of advice: Get over the cult of personality. I may not be as pretty or speak as elegantly as your “in crowd”, but I have many gifts to offer the cause. My income shouldn’t be a hindrance to my making a contribution.
Perhaps it’s time to allow some of the rest of us have a voice. When you’re ready to open your ranks, I’m here.