One of the things I have most appreciated about UUA presidential elections is the camaraderie and friendly rivalry between candidates. I was first getting active in UU congregational and district life when John Buehrens and Carolyn Owen-Towle were running for president, sixteen years ago. They set a standard, in my mind, of how elections between two very different, highly qualified candidates can be conducted.
They were colleagues and friends first. They were competitors second. And, when John Buehrens won that election, Carolyn Owen-Towle was a gracious runner-up. John led the UUA in positive directions, mentoring and encouraging leaders, providing continuity of purpose and mission. Carolyn did not publicly second-guess or criticize him; if she had concerns, she voiced them only in confidential settings.
Eight years later, Bill Sinkford and Diane Miller conducted the same kind of respectful campaign. Though there was considerable hope among many that a woman would win the election this time, when Bill was elected, it was clear that gender was not such an important factor to the electorate and there was little whining about that loss, as far as I could tell, despite Diane's considerable leadership strengths and charisma.
Now, another eight years later, Peter Morales and Laurel Hallman have conducted yet another respectful, yet intense campaign. And Peter has won, decisively. I supported Laurel in her candidacy; I believed that her strengths outweighed Peter's in some important areas. Yet I knew that either candidate would take the UUA in directions that would add to our strength and growth as a religious tradition which hopes to adjust the trajectory of society.
Yesterday I was a Hallman supporter. Today I am still a Hallman supporter because she is one terrific minister, leader, human being. But Peter can count on me as he forges ahead with his goals for our faith tradition. Today I am also a Morales supporter.