I worked in Psychology for nine years, often dealing with dysfunctional families. I have learned that the same dynamics found in families can be found in other groups and organizations as well.
I presently belong to the Carbon County Sheriff Posse. Very blatant dysfunctional characteristics exist in that organization. These problems have put the sheriff posse in a great dilemma that could end its existence. The sheriff's posse has in years past been a mainstay in the county's riding clubs, local parades and has had a high profile in assisting the sheriff's department at community events like the rodeos, demolition derby's, etc. Here we are in the 21st century and prejudicial ideas still exist, building the basis for the fighting, arrogance, denial, sabotaging, and secret keeping that often are part of the dysfunctional family syndrome.
The sheriff himself recognizes the principles and not just the rules the Civil Rights Act delineates for everyone. This act was the basis for our society saying, one person should not be considered better than another based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The sheriff has requested the posse change its by-laws to allow women to join it's ranks. The arguments for not allowing women by some posse members have gone from the appalling, "Half the women in the county are of" ill repute, to the bigoted, "As soon as we let women in they will take over," to the ridiculous, "Trail rides won't be fun anymore because we can't sit around the campfire and tell dirty stories". Only one argument dealing with nepotism had real validity, and that could easily be resolved with a few by-law additions.
I, in no way, want to minimize the efforts of the good men who remain in the posse to fight the battle. But there are two purposes for writing this letter.
First, to apologize to the women of this community because there has been neither consideration to women for these offensive statements nor consideration for the women who have been turned down after applying for membership. A feeling of rejection can carry with it a sting all its own, so I apologize for those who will not.
Secondly, to make these statements as my resignation. Breaking the cycle of the dysfunctional organization as well as the dysfunctional family has to begin with telling the "secret".
I need to move on.