Diedrich: Message of empowerment lost on speaker
Women’s empowerment comes from our own achievements, not by denigrating or attacking others.
Recently a women’s empowerment seminar was held at Maricopa’s City Hall. In attendance were over 200 people coming together to celebrate women’s empowerment and the role women play in Maricopa’s developing community. I was excited about the opportunity to share in the powerful energy that exists in today’s women and how we can achieve greater successes in the future.
Unfortunately, the seminar started off on a very sour note. Instead of having an introduction by somebody who had an uplifting and empowering message, we were forced to listen to a woman continue to blame others and play the victim one more time as she rehashed years-old events.
Julia Gusse, a member of Maricopa’s city council, chose to make her opening comments about enduring some phantom wrongs and how she overcame these as an empowered woman. In fact, all she did was revisit her own contempt for others.
Without naming names, she chose to talk about being the one person who protected women from a former council member who was accused of sexual harassment. What she failed to do was mention that the accusations were independently investigated and the council member was completely exonerated of any wrongdoing. Her failure to tell the whole story makes a mockery of the real goals of empowerment because she is unwilling to accept her own failures and chooses to see her “victory” where there was nothing to be victorious over. In fact, her willingness to see her involvement as somehow the savior of these other women is in complete contrast to the goals of an independent, strong, empowered woman. Telling a half story so that it suits your agenda is manipulative and wrong.
Next, she trampled on the institution that she wraps herself in by claiming when she was found guilty of violating the ethics code of the city council it was only because of her “tone” when attacking a former council member and citizen during a council meeting. Instead of accepting her colleagues’ unanimous admonishment and learning from her behavior, she has diluted the consequences of her actions to something that makes her the victim, a role she is familiar playing.
Over the course of Ms. Gusse’s political career she has engaged in attacking and forcing investigations on nearly every male member of the city council she has served with. Through the tens of thousands of dollars and countless hours of investigations the only person every found guilty of anything was Ms. Gusse herself.
When Ms. Gusse rose to make the opening comments at the event, I was hopeful that she had seen the destruction she has caused through her false and misleading allegations and would speak about how realizing that men and those who are her political opposites are not her enemies. Had that been the message, I would have been encouraged and excited about how the next three hours would be empowering. Instead, I had to listen to a regurgitation of old events that Ms. Gusse twisted into some form of empowerment for herself.
She clearly does not understand what empowerment is.