Monday, June 29, 2009

Monumental catch-up (Sean)

Photo by Steffe

I'm sorry to have to post what will amount to two and a half days of updates here all at once. In order for it not to become one monumental post, I will try to break it up into several chunks. Not only because it is otherwise likely cumbersome for you to read, but also it seems a sisyphean task. Unfortunately, a hectic schedule since my last post here on Friday left me little time for the computer -- barely enough to keep up with email. Spending time repelling boarders here on the blog did not help.

Last GA I attended, in Portland, I brought the laptop with me (I had a physically smaller one back then), and so I was able to type updates throughout the day as time permitted, and even take notes in session real-time, making it easier to transform into a post later. Having several free wireless networks in close range of the convention center helped, and carting the laptop in with me was not really an issue on the light rail. This time around, I have a larger machine, which does not fit in the trunk of the scooter which I rode back and forth to the convention center. Of course, the line for the Internet cafe at GA, open only during exhibit hall hours, made that an impossibility as well.

Next time around, I really need to set things up so that I can post small snippets here from my BlackBerry (something I did not have last time). I did not think about this enough ahead of time, or else I'm certain I could have set it up for this go-round.

In any case, onward to where I left off, on:


Louise did a great job of describing Plenary-III in her last post. I will only add that people giving reports need to learn to stick to their time allotments. To do otherwise is, frankly, disrespectful of the delegates' time. I'm quite certain that some delegates had already left the hall by the time we got around to actually conducting business, the very important debate and vote on the Peacemaking SOC, and those delegates later felt disenfranchised. As delegates, we take our responsibility to be in Plenary from start to finish, and so, at some level, we are held hostage to anyone placed on the podium during a Plenary session and their time-management skills. This is clearly an area for improvement as we re-imagine GA (more on that re-imagining later).

Photo by doctor paradox

In any case, the Plenary ran over by half an hour, and, of course, we ran the clocks out more than once during the Peacemaking debate. It is perhaps the case that the body, which might otherwise have moved to extend time for debate even further, felt the pressure of the upcoming scheduled public witness bearing down upon them. I can't say having a more comfortable time margin, or more delegates in the room, would have changed the outcome. And, ultimately, I personally believe the decision to refer this one back to committee was the correct one -- I could not support it as it stood, and I don't really think the whole assembly could have amended it enough on the spot to make it right.

Friday evening while Louise was in choir rehearsal, I attended the Kate Clinton comedy performance, which, as a recovering Roman Catholic like herself, I found uproariously funny. There were, perhaps, a couple of moments where she (we?) was, shall we say, somewhat less respectful of "other traditions" as we UU's should strive to be -- other bloggers have already made hay of this.

We elected to skip the public witness, in order to eat dinner, and the Service of the Living Tradition because, again, it just ran too late. As Louise has already shared, it is just not reasonable to try to do something in every time slot at GA. This is a lesson we have both learned the hard way.

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