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Majority Rule

Majority rule is not enough.
The Boy Scout Patrol Leader Handbook
Taught with an easy to understand story:
The leader's job is not simply to
Get the job done.
To take the vote and follow the majority.
The leader's job is
To get the job done
And keep the group together.
This means going back and listening
To those who voted in the minority.
It means building consensus,
And finding ways to get those who disagree
To put aside their disagreement
For the good of the group.
Doing that is hard.
So much easier to say
Whoever voted the other way is
The Enemey.
The Traitor.
The one trying to steal from you.
There are nearly the same number
On both sides of the argument?
So easy to keep the argument going!
So hard to go back and listen.
Putting aside disagreement
Means building trust.
So easy to get followers who hear:
Be afraid!
We are at war!
I will crush the enemy!
People vote with their hearts more than their minds.
So I, a lowly poet propose
A definition of good policy:
Take the votes
On both sides of the argument and ask,
What is common to both sides?
How can we work through what differences remain?
Can we build something
That helps many
At the expense of only a few?
Making an enemy can help us feel better for a time.
But an enemy, by definition, is not there to help.
Much as we hate to admit it,
We can all do with a little help.
Majority rule is not enough.

22 August 2019

by Bill Cattey