Friday, May 14, 2010

First things first, do what's next.

That's Twelve Step wisdom, embedded deep in my psyche, and the way I'm responding to the many crises afoot around the globe. I don't think I have my head in the sand; I don't think I'm opting out in fear or apathy or ignorance. It's just that I've got a different way of looking at things; it could be because of my upbringing in a home that focused more on local needs than on global needs or because my life experience has taught me that the current crisis almost always morphs into something else regardless of my reaction.

Anyhow, it was interesting to watch myself hold back as many of my colleagues pledged goodly sums of money ($100 or so) to encourage the UUA board to withhold General Assembly 2012 from Arizona because of their new and draconian immigration policies. It seemed to me like "wait and see" might be a more cautious approach, given that the new law is a clear effort to get Congress to act, a possible political move to get conservative votes, a nightmare of unconstitutionality, a slap in the face to already-overworked police departments. It didn't seem like financial pledges and a withdrawal from an AZ GA was really more than a knee-jerk response, especially when it turns out that AZ UUs are not in favor of a boycott or moving GA. Also, I have already pledged the only extra $100 in my bank account to the local Habitat project which my congregation is part of.

I do feel I have a responsibility to make the world a better place, but my efforts seem more effective here in the local arena, where we have our own set of problems to address. Though I have to admit, if it turns out that the Arizona immigration mess morphs the wrong direction, I will have to figure out how to respond differently. Because I can't just ignore what's going on elsewhere.

What's that prayer? "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." Seems to me I learned that in a 12 Step program too.


Robin Edgar said...

Looks like a case of great minds think alike Ms. Kitty. ;-)

Desmond Ravenstone said...

As I've commented elsewhere, I would much prefer that the UUA Board actually engage the leaders of Phoenix and Arizona in discussion, beforce committing to moving GA or a full-scale boycott.

They could ask the folks who run Phoenix: "Given the atmosphere surrounding passage of this law, how can you assure that many of our GA attendees -- including our own president -- will not be harassed or worse?"

That seems to me a much more proactive and constructive approach than simply abandoning the entire state -- including UUs and our allies who live there.

LinguistFriend said...

Your view is a sensible one, I think. As I understand it, a decision to withdraw from the Arizona GA would substantially decrease available financial support for all of the activities of the UUA in order to wave a flag about one issue. What will happen in terms of legal action is unpredictable to me (at least, I don't have the training to predict it). It will be interesting to watch.

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, gentlemen. There is a rally scheduled for May 29 in Phoenix, to which many of my colleagues are flying. This seems like a better idea, if one feels called to go and I wouldn't dispute this action. But I don't plan to go.