Wednesday, March 19, 2008

On "democratize the NPTE"

Anybody who wrote that on a ballot last weekend ought to go to the NPDA business meeting.

For most of you, it would be your first time -- I know, I've been there and seen how democracy doesn't help. I also know that y'all weren't there. You were having fun, hanging with your pals or something.

The thing about democratic debate organizations is that everyone has an opinion about how things should go. Being debaters, they assume they are right and that their way will win.

You know what happens when a room full of these sorts gets together? NOTHING happens... because it can't be discussed adequately to get to a vote. Additionally, what's called the "majority cycling problem" happens, in which everyone thinks things should change but no one proposed solution gets a majority. As a result, you have an organization that becomes less and less responsive to changes in the way debate is done.

I know this because I've been at those business meetings. I watched as some tried to make changes, propose qualification systems or other innovations that would make the tournament more fair. They didn't pass -- if they got on the agenda at all... or, they'd get held over to the fall business meeting many of the proponents don't attend.

Do you want to know why NPTE is so good? Because it IS NOT a democracy. Yep, that's the reason. As a result, the board itself can make changes that may not be popular, but are right and work for future competitors. We can act quickly without having to consult the membership --- and we have the freedom to try to make things as competitive and fair as possible.

Hubby and I have been pretty careful about who we suggest as additions to the board. We try to pick people who are from a variety of kinds of schools, different regions and with enough experience to put their decisions in context. We selected some damm good people, don't you think? In fact, they are so good that y'all from that f-ing square state aren't asking for their resignation now, are you? I may be wrong, but after Jim, all the other additions to the board were proposed by Hubby and myself.

You know what, I was thinking about resigning. I was even contemplating doing it after this tournament. I'm much less likely to do so now ---for a couple of reasons.

First, I don't want to let you asshats win. I simply don't. I hate bullies and won't stand for them now that I'm 39 and don't give a hoot what you and your coward/bully coach think

Second, I don't want to try to persuade someone to take a position on the board right now. The way you've treated Hubby and I has shown your true selves and whomever would take my seat now knows exactly the heat and BS that comes with it.

Third, I want to prove that this really is a debate community. That being only one year out from having a team doesn't justify being shunned from the community. That would be a really terrible precedent to set. Many of your favorite judges are no longer associated directly with a program. They come back to a few tournaments per year to judge and be included in the community. If I'm "not connected" to the community, then they certainly aren't. It would be really bad to lose that experience and perspective from the judge pool.

Finally, I actually do want to see if some limited sort of democracy might work for the NPTE. If I resign now, that won't happen. The board will have to replace me (and Hubby) quickly, before the new set of rules revisions etc... happen. One of the proposals we will probably consider (if you bring it...) will be a form of democratic voice in the NPTE. I'll vote for a reasonable one -- but it is quite possible that the remaining members or my replacement won't do so.

Really, stop being such a jerk, go smoke something and relax a bit. You aren't helping yourself or your wider cause with this vendetta, and you are only making yourself look bad.

2 comments:

Dan said...

Am I the only one who thinks "Democratize the NPTE" inevitably means "merge with the NDT in five years"? Seems like Parli *needs* an old-school hegemon.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

What is really funny about this whole business is that one reason we don't democratize is because NOT being democratic has worked for the NDT for about 100 years.... a merge wouldn't get them democracy, it would remove any hope of a democratic element.