When I first began asking questions of our current mayor I received answers. Back in those days I had several rich discussions with the mayor on social media and my emails usually generated a response within a reasonable amount of time. As my questions became more difficult and my investigations turned up controversial information, my efforts to maintain a healthy chain of communication were met with silence.
At some point the mayor decided that I am not worth his time.
Writer and novelist Devin Gackle describes the “silent treatment” as “a method of psychological punishment and manipulation” that can cause significant damage to relationships, and, in extreme cases, generate feelings of depression or anxiety (LifeHack 2018).
We’ve all been there. Whether you’ve sweated it out waiting for an overdue email response from your boss, never heard back from a business that owed you a price quote for a project, or felt the cold shoulder from your recently grounded teenager, everyone knows the feeling of being ignored.
Sometimes the absence of a response is nothing more than a consequence of living in a busy world. Career coach Dr. Marty Nemko, PhD, reminds us that “in our careening lives, courtesy can be a casualty” (PsychToday 2014). It seems almost weekly I send a text that disappears into the abyss of the recipient’s demanding schedule.
Often the silent treatment is more insidious than a simple lapse in memory though. Mental healthcare expert Dr. Hemant Mittal informs us that ignoring someone is a technique often used by those who wish to “express discontent” when a person is not “fulfilling your expectations” (Linked In 2014).
I am not the only person who is ignored by the mayor when I ask legitimate, probing questions about the administration of our city. Could it be that our questioning alone falls outside of the mayor’s expectations for proper behavior? Is the silent treatment we receive a form of punishment?
Transparency and open communication are the capstones of my campaign platform.
You have my promise that I will never ignore you. I might not have an answer for all of your questions right away, but you will always have the respect of a response from me. To do otherwise reflects a lack of care for our community. Ignoring people communicates to them that they do not matter at all. Remaining engaged and answering even the most difficult questions demonstrates a desire to put Charlestown First.