Ms. Kitty has an interesting post up about how very civil the recent campaign for UUA president was. Now, as Robin Edgar will no doubt show up here and mention, Diane Miller felt that there were untrue rumors spread about her during her campaign, an opinion that shows a charming innocence about the way elections work anywhere as she seems to think that supporters of one candidate having false negative ideas about another candidate is sufficiently unusual to be worth comment*.
Anyway, the Hallman/Morales campaign was a very civil campaign. Too civil, perhaps.
I was a member of the UUA election mailing list for several months and I developed the impression that everyone's attempts to be polite actually made for a far less accurate picture of things and one that might have slanted things toward Morales.
For example, it was made very, very clear that there was to be no questioning of the veracity of anything the candidates said. As Morales has a serious fondness for hyperbole and Hallman does not, this meant that he was free to make questionable assertions, knowing they would go unquestioned, and phrases like "a star-studded cast of religious educators" were, in my opinion, insufficiently made-fun-of**. For awhile, his supporters were actually calling him "the Prophet of the Possible" with no obvious discouragement from the Morales campaign. Let's hope he leaves that off his business cards. On the upside, if you reread "Pride and Prejudice," Mr. Collins is a lot funnier when you have Morales in mind.
Anyway, maybe it's polite to accept Morales' fondness for grandiose phrasing. But I do have worries about how it's going to sound when his purple prose is speaking for us all.
Even more worrisome to me was that because the candidates could not be criticized, rumors that Laurel Hallman was the principal architect of Pathways and did a terrible job of it were forced underground rather than being addressed up front.
Less than a month before the election, I received an e-mail, from someone with a UUpdates blog no less, that asserted at least half a dozen unsupportable accusations about Hallman's part in Pathways*** and about the overall sanity of the Pathways project. I put together an FAQ addressing all these concerns and put it on the list, but it was too little too late.
I fully believe that the person who wrote me the email believed what he said about Hallman. Maybe that's what he had been told. I wish he had accused her of these things on his blog or before the election list turned into one dull endorsement after another and the Hallman campaign pulled out as the campaign probably has more information that I was able to glean from UUA sources.
But hey, it was a civil campaign.
*Also, Miller was shocked and saddened to find that "identity politics" was an issue in the election where the black guy ran against the woman. I supported her, though halfheartedly, and am horrified to discover that the UUA elected, I think, the right person in Sinkford as his opponent was apparently Howard-Dean-level not ready for primetime. I wish Hallman had run then. Or Morales, though he would have had to start his campaign as he was graduating from Starr King. Also, I hate it when people talk about "identity politics" as if it is something new and excludes the idea of decades of upper-middle-class white men voting for each other.
**If you can read "a star-studded cast of religious educators" without thinking of this Onion article, you're a better person than I am. (Note to the CSO's mom: Gastonia gets a shoutout in that article)
***My favorite was the idea that Hallman was crazy to think that a large UU church could be built within 20 miles of another large UU church. When I pointed out that my church and UU church five miles down the road have a combined population of about 1,300 I wasn't surprised not to get a response.
(EDIT: Suzie pointed out that I named the wrong organization in one of my comments. She's right, I was wrong. Cecile Richards is still head of Planned Parenthood. If you follow that link, you get her analysis. She believes the election was decided by gender more than I do, but whst she has to say is interesting.
As a response to what she has to say, I will say that I think Morales was a better politician and that his dancing-around of the question about patriarchy was just the politiciany way he answers questions, not any real substantive comment on his feelings about feminism. For an example of what I'm talking about, note the question Robin keeps talking about where when asked about mistakes they had made, Laurel directly addresses Pathways and acknowledges that some of the mistakes were hers while Morales gives some blather about how difficult it is to schedule a church service because his church has SO MANY MEMBERS.)