Thursday, February 02, 2006

a learning experience

I attended a meeting that was one of the more frustrating ones I've been to. The participants have been meeting to try to reach concensus on some proposed laws. The proposals have been floating around, in various forms, for the last several years. These meetings are an attempt to get people to agree to something so the whole process can finally move forward. I got involved because of a class I'm taking.

At the meeting, it quickly became apparant that few if any of the participants were interested in actually making progress. Instead, they'd all fixed on their positions and were content to argue in circles around them. I was calling in over a cell phone and trying to participate through a squawk box, which pretty much shut down my usual tricks for guiding a conversation since most of them involve physically being there.

It's the same sort of problem that shows up in treaty negotions. Any one of the groups the various attendees represent has the power to block this legislation, they've all threatened to do it if the legislation doesn't do things their way, and none of their respective ways are compatible. I guess I need to learn a bit more about negotiation and diplomacy because I'm not seeing a way to make anything productive happen here.

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