The events of November 1, 2014 in the SCA Kingdom of the East served as a rock dropped in the middle of a lake, whose surface appeared smooth until the rock pierced it. If you are blissfully unaware of what I refer to, you can read my account here. In the immediate aftermath, there was a stunned silence, followed by days of private whispers, and finally some discourse. The public discourse died down although discussions among groups of people (such as the East’s knights) continued and grew, to a crescendo that most of us aren’t fully aware. Then, most recently, an interesting phenomenon: sporadic carefully worded posts by individuals stating their personal stance. And what I am seeing and hearing is largely along this ilk:
There is something I don’t like, but I’m not going to walk away from this game completely. I am going to limit myself to my safe circle of friends and activities I am comfortable with.
This last part has me speechless. Or it did, for a few days. I finally put together the following words on someone’s FB post:
The group is called a Society, and rightly so. We are all part of this. If there is a problem, we are all linked to the problem as well as being keys to the solution. My biggest fear at the moment is that those who will step back from their regular level of activity will help create a lost 6 months, an important period of time when we can instead all be working towards changing the underlying fabric that caused the events of that day. I firmly believe that we are setting ourselves up for a repeat if we do not all actively engage in creating the change we want to see.
I have written in a previous post (here) about what I think are some move-forward actions. I fully believe that we need to do these things and to do so now. In that post I focused on the martial side of the activities, but there is more about the underlying fabric of the Society that needs to change. Key to this is: we need to learn when we should forgo politeness for speaking up for what is right. I will elaborate further in another post.
Now, you might completely disagree with me and insist that what happened on Nov 1 was an isolated incident the likes of which has never happened before and cannot possibly happen again. I don’t quite know what to say to you if this is your belief. In general I am a pretty naïve and trusting person, and I’m not used to finding people who are more naïve and trusting than I am. (For the record, I will concede that it was a “perfect storm” of the specific personalities involved, but even that alone wouldn’t have been enough without the culture we had all participated in growing, which enabled the events to unfold as they did).
Now, let me be blunt: you don’t like the person in charge in this game? You don’t respect them? Tough patooties. This isn’t a Democracy. But the person in charge can only affect so much. (And let’s not forget the dual nature of this game, with the senechale in a parallel role as the K&Q, so there really are other leaders who you might feel differently about). The vast majority of what we do does not directly involve, or is affected by, the K&Q.
We *can* do our part to improve ourselves and our game, today, tomorrow, for the 6 months starting in April, and after that as well. But we aren’t going to do this by sitting idly by and letting the time march on. If we do, then we are giving those who espouse actions we do not like a head start to further entrench the fabric we have learned that we dislike.