|Politicians in Amtgard
Many people acknowledge the fact that there are several problems plaguing Amtgard today. The real life consequences of these problems can be seen by anyone willing to look at things objectively. There is lower attendence at interkingdom events. The 6.1 Rulebook is five years in the making. Kingdoms are split on the IRCA, rules, and general policies. There is infighting at every level of politics, from interkingdom to the shire level.
People are quick to offer opinions on who is to blame. The progressives blame the Burning Lands. The Burning Lands blames the progressives. The spin doctors blame whoever they are trying to discredit this month.
The Burning Lands allowed and encouraged groups to write their own corporas. Each kingdom has done exactly what it was supposed to do, which was to grow and mature into a group that plays Amtgard in its own style, with its own rules. Kingdoms have grown so accustomed to having free reign in their own lands, that when considering changes to awards, credits, or other things that affect players once they leave the current kingdom, they fail to think of the consequences for groups outside of their own. There is no solidarity in Amtgard anymore.
The problem is the politicians. Politicians are the ones who lead the groups of Amtgard. Some are to be trusted, and have the betterment of Amtgard as a whole at the top of their list of priorities. Others shower newbies with gifts and awards in order to gain their loyalty. Knighthoods are given out in exchange for loyalty to a politician. These things are the actions that strike a blow to the very fundamentals that Amtgard was based on. Amtgard has evolved into a place where there are social classes at almost every level, a place where people no longer care about what is best for the club as a whole, but only seem to care about whatever their local politicians want them to. With reckless disregard, they bulldoze their policies into place in order to shape their Amtgard group the way they think it should be.
There are many types of politicians in Amtgard today. Here's a listing of some of the personality types that I have come across in my years of dealing with politicians from Amtgard groups across the country.
Puppet Masters: Politicians who form armies of marionette-like voters who vote blindly on the issues based on whatever the Puppet Masters want them to. These people generally lure people into their groups by having a huge household in which to offer companionship to the newbies. They often give the newbies gifts under the lure of "equipping a newbie", a subtle attempt at bribery. These people generally speak for several others at Althings and debates because they don’t trust their puppets to speak for themselves.
Hardcore: These are the politicians who run for office over and over. Many do so to the point of burnout, which often means they do more harm than good. Hardcore politicians can also fall under any of the other categories as well. Hardcore Puppet Masters are ones you need to be extra careful of. Their puppets can remain around long after their Master has supposedly disappeared from view.
Old Timers: These politicians have been around forever. They are usually very set in their ways, and fear any sort of change. When you factor in an Old Timer with a Hardcore politician, you have a fearsome foe. These politicians can be some of the hardest to work with.
Progressives: The opposite of the Old Timer, the Progressive politician tries to bring Amtgard into the new millennium. These politicians generally try to make Amtgard grow by encouraging more active involvement by its members across the world. The Internet tends to be the political soapbox of choice for most progressives.
People Pleasers: The People Pleasers are the politicians that spend their entire terms in office trying to please everyone. Most of the time, these politicians are wishy-washy on the hard topics, and don’t sign up with very many touchy political projects.
Common Sense: These politicians strike to use common sense to solve most issues. These politicians are some of the best to have around. People who think out their actions ahead of time, the Common Sense politician can be of great importance to any group from the smallest shire to the largest kingdom.
Spin Doctors: These politicians try to embellish on most of the issues. They try to slander and discredit their opponents. Spin Doctors generally tend to take away a lot of time from the elected officials. They can generally be found preaching when they think none of their opponents are listening. Spin Doctors are definitely a breed of politician that should be watched closely.
The Reluctant King: This is the guy that stepped up to do the job because he thought he would do a better job than anyone else. These are the true heroes of Amtgard, the ones who make the sacrifice of their personal time to help make Amtgard live and prosper.
All of these personality types can be joined with one another. You can see some Hardcore/Old Timers, or Progressive/Puppet Masters.
The politicians are what can make or break Amtgard, and its up to you, the Amtgard populace, to ensure that your politicians are spending their time bettering Amtgard instead of getting titles and awards for themselves and their friends. Sitting around watching a Puppet Master destroy your group is just as bad as being the Puppet Master yourself.
This is your Amtgard. Tell those people NO. Let your politicians know that you’re sick of the fighting and that you want to see Amtgard grow. When monarchs hand out shallow awards, call them on it. Tell them that you don’t want them degrading your kingdom by cheapening the awards. Send them a message every time they want to change something. Ask questions, and make sure that all changes are well thought out. Take your Amtgard group back from the politicians who snuck in during the night and stole your voice.
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