The casual observer would find me a bit odd when it comes to organization. For example, one could notice that my computer files are pretty orderly, but my emails are a mess. I have very organized closets, and fairly well organized file drawers, but my desk top is a disaster zone. Cufflinks that I wear annually? Perfection! Glasses that I wear daily? Embarrassing.
I personally marvel at my need to have art work meticulously hung and socks well ordered, but my tax papers are messy. This dichotomy is on my mind right now because I have been thinking about the importance of decision making in communities.
Our decision making is messy. We know the dates of elections and debates, but we don’t have a tidy process of deciding.
Just this week an online neighborhood site boasted more than a dozen posts on organizing a rummage sale in early June. The date was arrived at relatively easily. People decided to tag along with an annual affair that one group of people organized. My nearby neighbors and I have been silent. This is where, I believe, the mess will begin. The group that set the date and is full speed ahead didn’t consider that hosting all of the garage and yard sales on one day in an area covering more than 20 square miles might actually diminish sales for some people on opposite ends of the area.
It seems somehow churlish to rain on their parade with only three weeks until the big weekend. So we will likely remain quiet and do something else a month later. A couple of us might even pray that they get a hail storm on their selected date.
So – I don’t know – Midwest?
Yesterday news was circulating about two state university campuses voting no confidence in the system chancellor and the Board of Regents. A few of the comments from administrators and legislators had the tone one might expect when seeing a gaggle of academics scurrying around campus parking lots holding up the hems of their academic gowns and holding on to their mortar boards. Seriously, the faculty voted after more than a year of absurd behavior and backroom dealing by the chancellor and regents. They exercised their right to decide, but it was all too, too messy.
This week the campaigns of another two Republican presidential candidates bit the dust. Certainly the decisions were theirs, but just as certainly the decisions were not theirs alone. Advisors, family members, staff, party operatives, and major donors were surely also involved. The public face of the campaign, however, didn’t show the messiness that was certainly present for the weeks, days, and hours ahead of the announcements.
Now we are moving into high gear for summer conventions and fundraising, campaign advertising and mudslinging. While all of this is going on we will also be in the wings as big money and big egos erode democracy. There will even be discussions about how those involved can avoid being too damaged, too dirtied in the process.
After all, our decision making is messy.