By Melissa Anderson
A fun game I like to play is how does a state branch of an organization differentiate from the main national organization? It’s a telling thing when a national organization is saying something very adamantly on a nearly weekly basis while the state organization orchestrates “radio silence” on the subject. The disconnect between the national headquarter’s prerogatives and what a state branch believes can be amusing and sometimes sad.
There are many different ways that a state branch of a national organization can show their disagreement. The most common being a lack of communicating the national message at the state and local level. State published and run information centers will fail to include the national message. Information is a valuable tool that be used by either overloading to the point of not caring anymore or by hindering its release, thereby keeping people in the dark.
Information for all and letting each individual decide what they think has been a battle cry for many is something that I definitely support. When organizations limit opinion or dissent within their own ranks, it shows that differing opinions will not be tolerated. Even when the general consensus is in agreement, having discussion is a good thing. It shows a commitment to growth and development. It shows that the organization is working for everyone when the discussion table is open to all.
North Dakota, for a landlocked state in the heart of North America, is actually quite isolated. From trends to politics to development, North Dakota tends to be behind the rest of the country. Many of the rural states fall into this category to varying degrees. Modern media practices and improved delivery of goods has brought the state to a more level playing field with the more populous states, but those transition are still happening slowly.
When organizations that have national associations limit the information that they share from that national platform, they are isolating their members. This disservice and, to an extent, attempt at controlling should not be tolerated by members. Can a state organization disagree with the national level? Sure, but it should be the decision of all rather than the few who are in positions of power and reach.