Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Things I learned at the 2010 SBC Annual Meeting

Never depend on someone else to do the right thing.

Early on in discussions about the interim report of the GCR Task Force, several of us commented on the necessity of voting on the recommendations individually. Although I was fairly confident that the Task Force was going to presented them that way, we discussed the parliamentary possibilities if the report was presented as a whole. There were several options available that would have at least forced a vote on considering the recommendations individually. Had that happened, I think the outcome might have turned out differently. We will never know.

I sat amazed as the Task Force boldly presented their recommendations as a whole. My amazement grew to shock as no one moved to divide the question. A motion was made to table it, which would have effectively killed it. Although opposed to the recommendations, I voted against the motion to table. I thought that the diligent work of the Task Force should at least be decided upon. Another motion was made to refer the recommendations to the Executive Committee for further study and consideration. This seemed to be a fair motion, but was soundly defeated. The mood of the messengers (whether for or against) was to deal with the issue without further delay.

The right thing to do was to decide the issue that day. I still believe that the right thing also would have been to decide on each of the recommendations separately. I was not alone in feeling that way. As a matter of fact, nearly everybody that I talked to—both for and against—felt that way. So why did it not happen? It didn’t happen because no one made the motion.

A motion to divide the question is a simple motion. It requires a second (which the man in the rear-left of the convention hall would have eagerly and loudly made). It does not even allow debate, so absolutely no eloquence would have been required. After the motion and second, all it requires is a simple majority vote. I believe it would have had a good chance of passing—but we will never know. We will never know because no one made the motion. We will never know because I did not make the motion.

Sitting back and hoping someone else will do the right thing is the same as doing nothing. I did nothing, so we will never know what might have happened.

1 comment:

Les Puryear said...

Jim,

I was told that others were going to divide the question. I was also shocked when the vote went forward. Lesson learned.

Les