Letter to the Editor: Thank You Peninsula Pulse

Thank you for expanding community journalism by working with the League of Women Voters of Door County (LWVDC) Observer Corp. Your article [“Community Journalism Project Kicks Off,” October 2023], reminded me that Robert’s Rules of Order is commonly used to facilitate decision-making. Unfortunately, research shows that Robert’s Rules restrict collaboration and consensus-building. 

Questioning that leads to research and fact-sharing to better understand issue complexities takes time in a government of, by and for all, not just a few. Pseudo-collaborators want cooperation to implement their ideas and become impatient with the amount of time required for collaboration. 

An elected representative, for example, may attempt to collaborate, but a townsperson offering a different opinion is too often rewarded with a put-down that halts communication. To save time, the elected representative could invite anyone interested to meet to research and share facts to build consensus and report back.

Cooperation using Robert’s Rules is an effective authoritarian tool in the divide-to-conquer, new-world design. Collaboration, a non-judgemental option, respects participants who change their minds after new understandings. Stoics believe people have two ears and one mouth to be good listeners. There are hundreds of possibilities, so generalizing across a state, nation or world is simply ludicrous. 

Former University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Ann Minahan (1925-2005) offered an option to Robert’s Rules – and opportunities for consensus decision-making – in “Martha’s Rules: An Alternative to Robert’s Rules of Order.”  

In schools, critical thinking consensus-building used to be important. This was before school curriculums were limited by National (renamed Wisconsin) Core Curriculum, standardized excellence and privatized segregation.

Before the 1980s, my focus in education was teaching children “how to learn how to learn.” This has inadvertently informed our Door County hospitality business model based on caring: human rights for all, democracy of, by and for all people, and protecting limited critical resources. 

The Pulse has made other community improvements. Reporting on Kitchens and Jacques has been appreciated, but limited. Maybe the Pulse could use their “Legislative News” to share facts about what the governor/state, senators and representatives have actually accomplished that impact the Door community. 

Thanks for your efforts, Pulse.

Carole Vande Walle

Gibraltar, Wisconsin