|Amtgard Politics 101
The Rising Winds is the largest kingdom in Amtgard. It spans six states, not counting the one park in Croatia and the one park in Arkansas that we have little contact with. Nothing against those parks, it's just that this article is in the context of politics, and we don't really have to deal with issues from those parks, and we never get votes from them.
I was the monarch of the Rising Winds during the summer of 2010. During that time, a lot went on. Tal Dagore was going for kingdom status, I had to ban someone with a public Althing, and during my reign, the first ever interkingdom event between Tal Dagore and the Rising Winds was held: Keep on the Borderlands.
Still though, do you know what the number one question I was asked as Monarch was? Was it about my plans on how to spend money? No. Was it about what the agenda of the BOD was? No. Was it about anything related to the NPO side of the Kingdom of the Rising Winds? Was it any of the stuff mentioned above? Tal Dagore becoming a kingdom? No. The impact Keep on the Borderlands would have on northern Amtgard? No. Rules Revision? No.
It was, "When is the next event?"
Take a look at the ORK. Take a look at the various parks in the Rising Winds. I've visited most of those parks, and met loads of people who I have never met before and will likely never meet again. In the farthest reaches of the world, there are some spirited players, powerful personalities, decent fighters with potential, and great A&Sers that will never see the light of day as far as the kingdom (or Amtgard as a whole) is concerned. They don't travel, they don't keep up on their kingdom's news. They don't get on e-Samurai. They are comfortable and happy playing at their park, making stuff for their park, roleplaying, questing... and that's it.
Still, there are numerous "Amtgard Politicians" that constantly reference "The People" in the agendas they champion. My analysis on "The People"? They generally don't give a shit. Not that that's a bad thing... it's the job of an "Amtgard Politician" to "give a shit" so they don't have to. Then we get to have cool things like 300 person events, and the rest of the players can just play Amtgard and not care.
Total in the Rising Winds, we have more than a thousand people.... but for simplicity's sake let's say we have exactly 1,000. In the last election of March 2011, 70 people voted of the 140 people who were eligible (dues paid and attendance). That's actually above average for our elections, and still leaves 86% of the populace that didn't care.
For the election of September 2010, (just coming out of summer where more people played and therefore, had better attendance), the totals were something like 25-17. Was it because "The People" didn't care in that election? No, it's actually because the candidates of the March 2011 election did a collectively better job at rallying people (friends) to vote. Whenever I run for office, I can count all but a paltry few of my votes being due to me approaching people and basically saying, "Vote. And make that guy vote too." Elections are basically a contest to see who can rally more of their friends to vote. This is fitting, because a good monarch is capable of privately rallying talented people to do stuff.
It's known that if a park is full of members eligible to vote but who have had little contact with any candidate, the park likely will not vote, regardless of any campaigning a candidate does. That speaks miles. The bulk of the people who vote don't really care about the political agendas of either candidate. They are either voting for their friends directly, or doing what another friend asked them to do.
The moral of the story? Most people don't care how we spend money, what the agenda of the BOD is, the NPO status of their kingdom, or... hell, even who the monarch is. And why should they? If the worst king in history gives a million awards to people who don't deserve it, knights ten people in an event who aren't even worthy, and gives a first day newbie a Master Everything and four Sword belts? I can still pick up a sword and fight people, I can still wear a sash and play in battlegames.
Amtgard politics are optional. The entire corpora can be written off as optional. If you got rid of it, and got rid of awards, knighthoods, and even positions altogether, a minority of people (us) would be upset and the rest of EVERYONE would play Amtgard.
We would just have 'crats and volunteers who would be held at a high standard, but not have a ladder award system or anything. That's how Dag and Bel function. They don't have nearly as developed an awards system or as nearly complex a monarchy system as us.
That's something that I don't think a lot of the "prestiged" in Amtgard really get, or those who focus on politics. "The People" just want to play Amtgard, and don't care about most of the topics discussed by us. They don't truly have our backs. Does that mean we should stop caring? God, no. The fact that we do is very important and critical to the structure of our game. The ladder award system is cool, makes our game unique, and provides a way to motivate people to better themselves. But it does mean that we do have to check our egos in once in a while, and realize that our priorities are nowhere near the priorities of the majority of players out there.
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