Monday, October 19, 2009

Baha'i elections

Well, it's late October and I've fallen behind. I haven't even begun to consider who I will vote for in the upcoming election for the Local Spiritual Assembly. "Wait a minute," I hear you say. "October? But the election isn't until April! Isn't 6-months just a bit early?" Don't worry. I hear your concern. It is not a psychiatric condition, like those people who begin their Christmas shopping in June. In fact, I usually begin in September. Consideration may be a year-round thing, but I actually begin planning quite late, as I am a procrastinator by nature (more on that later). Every September (except this year, when it'll be late October), I begin by sending myself an e-mail. This is the 21st Century version of talking to yourself, and is generally not considered a sign of insanity, despite appearances. "And what," I hear you cautiously say, "does this e-mail concern?" At the top is a list of the qualities we are to "give due regard" when casting our ballot. It used to be just the primary qualities listed by the Guardian:
  • unquestioned loyalty
  • selfless devotion
  • a well-trained mind
  • recognized ability
  • mature experience
There was also the reminder "to consider (these names) without the least trace of passion and prejudice, and irrespective of any material consideration". Now I also have to include the secondary qualifications mentioned by the Universal House of Justice in their August 2007 letter:
  • age distribution
  • diversity
  • gender

These secondary qualifications are not, of course, to be considered on their own, but rather to ensure diversity after making the so-called "short list" from the primary qualities. I say "so-called" as my "short" list is usually about half the community.

By doing this every year, I am reminded to look for these qualities in the friends throughout the year, instead of only looking for them come April.

Originally, I only had 9 names on the list and would revise them every few weeks. Now I have a running list with upwards of 30 names at any given time. This list has helped me focus on the positive qualities amongst the community members and kept the importance of the Spiritual Assembly in my mind throughout the year. By actively looking for these qualities in people in the Feast consultation, or just in general, I find that my respect and love for the community has grown exponentially. How can you not love a community that shows such wonderful qualities?

When you realize that the majority of the community has the necessary qualities to serve on such an institution... Well, I'm not sure what to say. Let's just say that I am impressed, and very glad to have such a community as my support. I can sure use it.

Now to get to that list.

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