[Ansteorra] a question
rlfjr at earthlink.net
Wed Apr 30 08:38:35 PDT 2003
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From: ansteorra at ansteorra.org
Date: Tuesday, April 29, 2003 06:04:57 PM
To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org
Subject: RE: [Ansteorra] a question
I refer to your story and tell my Pelican, Master Petrucio, that finally it
all makes sense. For years I have said "Politics, fie, hiss, not me." I
have been afraid of that word giving it a spectre so villinous that Dante
himself would envy my powers of imagination.
It may yet take the rest of my natural life to come close to mastery of
these skills, but I now feel ready to take my place in the greater arena of
our beloved community.
Don Robert Simon Fraser, whever you are now, know that your young cadet has
learned at least one of the lessons that you desired of him. I raise a
toast with you to him.
Alden's Going To Tell A Story About Politics.
When I was a young cadet (Lo, these many eons ago), my Don (Robert Simon
Fraser, aka Don Robbie) and others used to sit around his kitchen table some
evenings, and they often discussed SCA politics. At those times, I avoided
that table like the plague. Why? Because Politics was Bad. Politics was
Manipulative. Politics was Ee-ville. Politics made people mad at each-other.
I knew this. I had observed it. It was dishonorable and underhanded, and I
wanted nothing to do with it. Of this, I was certain.
Robbie once told me: "You know, Alden, you might want to listen in here;
because if you want to be a Don, you're going to have to do this same sort
of thing some day." I replied that I didn't want any part of *that*; and
that I would find a way to do what needed to be done, *without* resorting to
"underhandedness." (Why he didn't kill me out-of-hand at that moment, I can
only attribute to his seemingly endless patience *g*)
As I grew in the SCA, however, I began to realize that sometimes things
needed to be accomplished; and that leaders had a responsibility to their
constituents/community/cadre/etc to help facilitate the accomplishment of
those things. It bothered me a lot, until I eventually came up with my *own*
definition of Politics:
"Politics is the Art of cleanly and honorably helping to accomplish things
in a group, while keeping the most number of people in that group as happy
Some Poli-Sci teacher somewhere might have kittens at it, but it worked for
me. It allowed me to accept the responsibility of being a leader in my
community. I tried to remain true to that definition throughout my dealings
over the next 15-odd years in the SCA. And I think that I did.
Some would argue that my attitude is a cute fantasy, but has no bearing on
reality. Well, I don't have immediate *period* examples, but it's generally
accepted by historians that the only reason our own Civil War did *not* tear
our country apart at it's end, was because of the *honorable*, *political*
decisions and actions of the leading generals of both sides. Macchiavelli's
"The Prince" is required reading for my cadets, but only as a *bad* example.
Again, *my* opinion, FWIW.
My suggestion: Avoid "Politics" if you possibly can. Enjoy the SCA as a
whole; and don't worry about a few bitter, strained Olde Folkes who have
tied one-too-many shoes, been blamed one-too-many times because they
stepped-in and tried to help, and settled the arguments of one-too-many
five-year-olds masquerading as adults.
When (and if) the time comes that Politics rears it's ugly head for you;
approach it with a smile and an open hand; do your best to keep people happy
(even the stupid ones); and don't forget, every once-in-a-while, to look up
at the banners flying in the breeze, and remember why we do this thing we
do. And if someone belligerently tells you that "Politics is period!",
sweetly remind them: "So is Dysentery."
In Service, I remain
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