Nonetheless, I can't seem to run fast enough to get away from the relentless Process People. Boston is home to a frightening number of them.
In today's Boston Globe, one even admits that he is one of them. Ceaselessly until the Constitutional Convention (ConCon) leaves recess on January 2nd, we shall hear their alternating whines and monotones. Process. Process. Process. You must respect the process.
You're heavier, lighter, taller, shorter, richer, poorer than I. Concepts be damned. What can we measure?
Process People in PewsMy judgment of process worshippers focused when I served on the board of a large, troubled downtown UU church, and then chaired the board for two years. The Process People were congregants, volunteers and even staff.
The church was only a few hundred yards from the UUA headquarters. There are several UU churches downtown, including one that seems pretty Episcopal to me and another for Yuppies that subscribes to Martha Stewart Living. Instead, mine was the rabble-rousing, social-activist version.
It was the one that many UUA staff members attended, so many if fact that those at 25 Beacon called the church The UUA Chapel. At the time, over 10% of the members were UUA employees and many of those were also ministers as well as non-profit bureaucrats.
So when you had even one of those at a committee or board meeting, you would hear process spoken in insistence and reverence. Up at the UUA, process is king and queen. One should never shorten a procedure nor skip a step. Channing forbid.
How They ThinkInstead, in dealing with the Process People, one must either:
- Accept the mire and muck of wading through the process with them, even when the destination is in sight and there is a firm footpath beside the process swamp, or
- Get them to chill enough to tell you how wrong you are to abbreviate the process but not cause too much trouble.
Various psychologists, physicians and sociologists come at Process People (aaaaaargh) from different angles with different descriptions. Some would typify them as Myers-Briggs S (Sensing) types and others could call them left-brained. In either case, they tend to have low tolerance (or no tolerance) for ambiguity. They typically can only begin to understand a whole when they think all the parts are assembled and displayed.
That's a way of thinking. That's a way of feeling. That's a lifestyle.
They do think differently. Simply presenting a larger view will never convert one of them. The tension between Process People and the rest of us emerges whenever there is a conflict.
Deval and the Process PeopleThat is important at the moment, particularly during the anti-SSM amendment debate. That Globe column today had Sam Allis calling himself a process liberal. Likewise, over at Blue Mass Group, David made much in numerous posts and comments about how much he respects process above all.
The balanced-brained and right-brained folk can argue or laugh or sit with wrinkled brows, but Process People can't hear. They will instead remain with their iron underwear on the line and rusting by the moment. There is a right set of procedures and they know what it is. Likely, they can point to a constitutional article or a regulation or a precedent. So there.
In this particular case, an irony is that Governor-Elect Deval Patrick seems balanced in his view of the same-sex marriage debate and the ConCon. He has stated clearly and repeatedly that plebiscites on the civil rights -- particularly existing ones -- of others are uncalled for and impermissible. Had he been governor, this spiteful amendment would not have gotten so far as a ConCon.
Yet, Patrick certainly seems to have the ability to see the big picture and to tolerate even Process People without buckling under to them. He can listen to their advice and opinion, and then take what is worthwhile from them.
We can be sure that he won't suddenly be converted into one of those let-the-people-vote types who would sacrifice the commonweal on a stone altar of procedure.
As scary as the Process People can be when they lumber and attack, they must find life difficult. What they see as necessity often does not occur. They lose in their literal interpretations of complex situations. The battle is finished and the armistice signed while they are still arming themselves. Lackaday.
So, in the matter at hand, the Process People will have to work through their own resolution. If they find that getting free of this odious effort to strip rights from a group of citizens violates their sense of process, they can carry on about it -- sincerely but to no effect.
Fortunately, most of them may well carry a grudge but continue to function. Plus, they get to feel superior, knowing they would have done things differently. So there.
Tags: massmarrier, Massachusetts, amendment, same sex marriage, Process People, ConCon