Fall is here and so is Annual Communication. Few of the resolutions are noteworthy, aside from the usual clarifications to the CMC and a few things for ritual nerds to chew on. Except… there is one item that may have raised an eyebrow or two among you. Resolution 17-05 is very interesting indeed. I see known names in the list of proponents. I would love to know more about the motivations here.
Oh democracy! It sounds so nice. More democracy is always better doncha know. I think it might even be the very foundation of our freedoms (well that and a “free” public education). It sounds like a de Moley rule, being all democratic and American. But it is odd for us, because the Grand Lodge is anything but democratic.
Change is hard
The Grand Lodge of California is constituted in such a way that large, sweeping changes are very difficult. Aside from former and current officers, its members include the Masters and Wardens of the several constituent lodges and the Past Masters of those Lodges. By far, the bulk of the votes cast come from the lodges, and each has four votes: the Master and Wardens, and the PMs of the lodge have one collective vote. New legislation needs a 5/6 majority (84%!!!). There is a committee, composed mostly of people orbiting the Grand Lodge, who select the next Jr. Grand Warden Recommendee. Suffice it to say, it is not easy to access the levers of power. And even as Grand Master, they won’t always bend to your will.
Long time readers may suspect that, given my running commentary on some of the decisions of the GL and its administrative cabal, I would be in favor of shaking things up a bit over on Nob Hill. To some extent that’s true. But political upheavals tend to have lots of unintended consequences. And I have never been a proponent of democracy. I am much more in favor of republican government. Note the lowercase letters on both of those. More to the point, I think it is very likely that this resolution will cause many new problems.
If you think long and hard about it, you may decide that sometimes – just maybe – more and more democracy will not make things better.
We know that this resolution is meant to address some perceived problem. It isn’t that these three brothers want to include everyone. Nothing is that simple. So what are the possible problems they hope to solve? I see a few possibilities:
- They have some grievance against the Grand Lodge and believe that stuffing the ballot box will overcome the checks and balances that protect the current, established administration. A true populist takeover. I admit this would be kind of fun, since we live in a world where God-Emperor Trump is doing, or trying to do, the same thing in Washington. I think this is the most likely.
- They have a grievance with all those deplorable lodges in the hinterlands that routinely foil the politically correct agendas of the GL administration. They believe that opening up the vote to all MMs would give their “side” more of a voice, since it is much easier for someone in the Bay to go to Annual Communication than brothers from all those rural Lodges. This hands an enormous electoral advantage to the lodges that surround the Grand Lodge.
- They represent yet another faction, and this is a quick way to increase their presence. This seems unlikely, though if it were to pass, it would benefit other factions too. I have noticed that certain lodges bring as many people as possible to Annual Communication.
- The proponents are acting on behalf of the usual suspects. By now, I imagine that the typical authors of progressive policies (like removing the Bible) have noticed that most of us aren’t too keen to get in line. This could have been hatched at Nob Hill and some less partisan folks found to put it forward.
This resolution needs to fail. Even if this is a populist measure, intended to wrest back control of the GL, it will open a Pandora’s Box. It will be very hard to get that genie back in the bottle. The Lodges that represent Heritage America have the strength they do precisely because the ballot box cannot be stuffed. Why do you think they are so keen on chartering new lodges when we have too many already? Deplorable Lodges need to start chartering many new lodges, if only to maintain the balance of power.