I have repeatedly mentioned my dislike for my people’s tendency towards ambiguity and uneasiness for the lack of clarity in accountability it entails. I do not think it is a bad thing to try to reflect as many opinions as possible when making decisions for the mass, but I strongly disapprove the way they resort to consensus-building on key issues. I find it to be nothing but a cheap excuse for those in charge of making decisions to avoid taking responsibility for the outcomes and to divert criticism away from themselves when things go wrong.
So, you can imagine my disgust when I read in the news that our national organizing committee of a world-wide sporting event is planning to choose its mascot via consensus of primary school children! And what is worse, the kids are only to be involved in the final decision-making… they can only choose from candidates that have been narrowed down by the responsibility-avoiding and criticism-diverting adults.
Again, I do not think it is a bad thing to get kids involved in adult decisions, but only if it allows them to grow as responsible individuals. They should not be put in situations where they are held accountable for the outcomes too big to handle, good or bad, but especially bad – if there is even a hint of possibility that they could be blamed or made to feel guilt for things beyond their control, I oppose to getting them involved.
Equally, they should not be put in situations where they are NOT held accountable – if there is any chance that they may be given the impression that they do not have to take responsibility, either because they only took part partially in making the decision or because their opinion only mattered slightly in bringing about the outcome, I oppose to getting them involved.
Evidently, the responsibility-avoiding and criticism-diverting adults in the organizing committee think that getting the kids involved in such an ambiguous way “will add excitement to the event, and help leave a legacy for children [my translation].” But I feel it will only add confusion to how the event is being organized and risk leaving a negative legacy in children’s minds.
Maybe they thought they could re-gain our confidence in their competency as organizers if they collected from a wider spectrum of people?
And maybe they thought getting children involved would be perfect, because even if things go wrong, people would be hesitant to blame kids if they were in charge of the decision?
Well, maybe I lost all my confidence in them, not only as organizers but also as adults, for treating kids like pawns in politics.
I wish they would not go through with this plan, but now that it has been shared to the public, it would probably break the hearts of many kids who got hyped up about it. So, I wish to suggest a refinement in the plan – maybe the kids can be involved in the narrowing down of the candidates, and the adults can at last take the ultimate responsibility by making the final decision?
This way, every kid’s opinion will be reflected, more or less, no matter which candidate is chosen, but none will be put in a situation where they are held accountable, or not, for the exact decision. Maybe if kids’ involvement can be disambiguated this way (or to the same degree in other ways), then I will reconsider trusting them once again as responsible adults and competent organizers.
But I will reserve letting them have my full confidence back until they stop resorting to consensus as cheap excuses in every decision-making situation – they must learn that although it increases visibility, it does not assure transparency… without clear reasoning and guidelines, its use will only grow doubts in our minds as to why some opinions get reflected more in the choices than others.
Maybe they must always be able to disambiguate beyond reasonable doubt between participating parties and pawns in politics.