Henry Martyn Robert was an engineer in the US Army. He was asked to chair a meeting a Baptist church and made quite a mess of it. He vowed to learn everything he could about parliamentary procedure. And he published the first edition of Pocket Manual of Rules of Order for Deliberative Assemblies in 1876. Today we know it as simply Robert’s Rules.
Most organizations have bylaws that govern how they behave and many of these bylaws were derived from Robert’s Rules. Some organizations even adopt Robert’s Rules wholesale.
But Robert’s Rules are not designed to circumvent the democratic process. Whenever the the rules remain silent Robert’s Rules can be invoked. However when the rules are clear and written down Robert’s Rules need to remain silent.
I spoke to a friend recently who invoked Patrick Henry. Patrick Henry saw the British for what they were: an anachronistic, remote and self-serving tyranny that knew nothing of the potential and the passion of the people of the New World. These people were building a new society and growing a nation unified around a common cause. They did not want to separate from their motherland but they saw that they had no choice if they were to fulfill that potential.
Revolutions are never pretty. But sometimes they are the only way to create change. When the old order will do anything to cling on to power it is time to end their power by force: by modern force.
We all have access to FaceBook: let’s get posting. If you Tweet: tweet it up. If you have the email of the supporters: send them a link to this blog post. Let’s show those who seek to steal democracy that we who are members of this society will not tolerate such usurpation.
Give me democracy or give me a social media campaign!