The Rotarian and RI

As a Rotarian, must everyone just accept the direction the Board has set? Where can this discussion be held? Is the COL really an effective body? How can Club Level Rotarians get more representation in setting the course for the future? If some of Rotary wants to go one way, and some do not, why can that not be accommodated under the Rotary umbrella? What should the place be for any individual Member of Rotary within the Rotary World?

One of the reasons I spend as much time as I do posting and commenting on various Rotary matters online is to learn from other Rotarians. One of the great things about publishing in the 21st century is that you don’t need to be an expert to get an audience, just be reasonably proficient in writing and capable of expressing an idea that will attract some interest on the right venue. And, sometimes you get a comment back that makes you realize that there are some things that you have been missing, or that one’s assumption aren’t as valid as thought. Continue reading “The Rotarian and RI”

Some General Thoughts on the 4-Way Test

What I have experienced in these debates is the assumption that what one believes in the situation is the single, undeniable, inarguable TRUTH, ending any discussion. The irony that this is what the 4-Way Test was created to avoid is never recognized by those who wield the 4-Way as a weapon.

I’ve been involved in several public debates over statements of Rotary’s leadership on such issues as Club events including weapons, and climate change. To my mind, these are political topics that official RI is prohibited from engaging. While I expect that the diversity in the Rotary World would engender much difference of opinion on such topics, as Club Level Rotarians, we are not prohibited from taking a stance and exchanging opinions, sometimes with passion. What I didn’t expect were the number of Rotarians who will cite the 4-Way as some discussion-ending proof of their position and expect the other side to admit defeat and shut up. Continue reading “Some General Thoughts on the 4-Way Test”

The 4-Way Test in the Weapons Debate

And because TRUTH is on their side, all the rest of the 4-Way falls neatly into place for them, again without much thought. The underlying dynamic is “I’m right, you’re wrong, and the rest really doesn’t matter because I’m right.”

In the debate currently taking place on the imposition of the B-16 Code Amendments to Rotary’s Policies on Club events that include weapons, many supporters of the RI Board have cited the 4-Way Test as validation for their position. I find this assumption to be simplistic at best, arrogant at worst. It is clear to me that many such people have not really thought through the 4-Way, and really understand that it is a process used to attempt to find reconciliation in a dispute. Each step requires differing opinions to be expressed, evaluated, and weighed. There is no guarantee that the process will result in accord. Continue reading “The 4-Way Test in the Weapons Debate”

Rotary and Weapons

Why do you distance your brand from certain industries or merchandise? Obviously, because you feel that a connection could potentially hurt it. In this singling out of “weapons” it is clear that the Board thinks that Rotary is universally negatively impacted by a Club’s use of the Rotary logo in an advertisement for a Club fundraiser in which a rifle and archery bow are displayed, alongside a sponsor’s logo for a local gun and archery shop. To those of us who think differently, the opposite is true.

This is a revised version of the post I made on Monday, Feb. 27. Since my initial post, which was based on a Feb. 23 article “Rotary International Tells Clubs to Drop their Guns” by Larry Keane on the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s website, official Rotary documents have become known which support Mr. Keane’s article.  Also, the rapid spread of the details of the Board decision has created much concern and anger among many US Rotarians, to the point that it is rumored that the Board will be holding an emergency meeting to discuss the situation as it stands now. Continue reading “Rotary and Weapons”

Rotary was founded on western capitalism: how does a creeping socialism affect it?

Is Rotary just a wealth redistribution mechanism in today’s world? That attitude would explain a lot of what we see in RI’s actions, or rather, inactions in the care and feeding of Rotarians.

Reading about Chicago in 1905, one senses the atmosphere in business was openly fierce, as capitalism was gaining its supremacy on the strength of the Industrial Revolution. Individuals were empowered with visions of personal success only constrained by their own limitations. One can see how such a time would inspire the gentle soul of Paul Harris to reach out for a better way forward, where business was encouraged, but moderated with good will and fellowship, the values of a rural Vermont village adapting to the emerging new world of possibilities. Continue reading “Rotary was founded on western capitalism: how does a creeping socialism affect it?”

Our Rotary Club and Politics

I think it is contrary to the fundamental values of Rotary to just say no politics and be done with it. If some politics are OK, how do we define that?

A recent visit by WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey was the basis of discussion among some Members about the rules and practices of Rotary and our Club in regard to political programs. It seems that this issue comes up just about every time a non-Member politician speaks at a meeting (particularly when they don’t agree in party affiliation…), though not much follow-up discussion seems to ensue (one presumes from a lack of prolonged interest). This topic is a controversial one among Rotarians in many Clubs, and is not always understood by proponents of differing viewpoints on the subject. Continue reading “Our Rotary Club and Politics”