At Welfare Square in Salt Lake City, I'm watching. Across the street is a half-naked malnourished man, smoking a cigarette; a backpack and large coat rest beside him in the shady grass, and he scratches at the air while talking out loud to himself, words I can't make out. A dirty brown pickup pulls in beside me, and a large man climbs out, speaking hurriedly in Spanish; four children -- no, make that a small woman and three children -- exchange a few words with the man, who beckons them off toward a building as he returns to sit in the truck. From the building, an aged women with a sparsely-haired scalp marches to the edge of the parking lot, her serious features relax as a car slows to a stop to let her pass, and she waits as a hunchbacked man, looking at his feet, slowly places one in front of another and again, and again toward her, and again perhaps to cross with her in front of the waiting car.
This has been an emotional day for Mormonism. As reported in national headlines, Kate Kelly of Ordain Women has been excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for "conduct contrary to the laws and order of the Church". While I do not have a strong opinion for or against ordination of women to priesthood in the Church, I do strongly support open constructive discussion of the question. While I recognize the Church's concern appears not to have been the question itself, but rather how Kate Kelly has approached the question, I am alarmed by the sanctimonious manner in which some members of the Church have responded to news of the excommunication.
We should take seriously the risks of technofascism, an elitist libertarianism empowered by accelerating technological change and concentrated at high tech corporations -- my own demographic. While many decry the governance challenges of our day, some give corporate governance a pass. And yet it's not hard to find oppression wherever power is concentrated. That doesn't mean we're all always completely failing to use whatever power we might have in constructive ways. It just means that we can and should do better.
Tell me. I'm interested in the big picture. How could and should we organize ourselves, locally, regionally and globally, going into the future to optimize for a civilization that persistently and increasingly thrives in creativity and compassion? In what ways are present governance paradigms succeeding? In what ways are they failing? How is governance relevant to our greatest opportunities and risks? How can we improve governance, not just in superficial ways, but in deeply transformative ways?