If democracy is like an all-you-can-eat buffet, understanding parliamentary procedure is learning how the sausage gets made. Determining the nuts and bolts of how groups of people best make decisions is the stuff of parliamentarians.
A leading org of such like-minded folks is the National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP). The NAP's aim is the "teaching, promoting, and disseminating of the philosophy and principles underlying the rules of deliberative assemblies." In other words: making democratic meetings efficient. Be it a city council or homeowners' association, a board meeting, or a book club, parliamentary procedure will give a power boost to the decision-making process and will allow all interested parties the opportunity to be heard.
The Tennessee Beta Unit is the Memphis chapter of the NAP and the Tennessee Association of Parliamentarians. The group meets about once a month to preach the gospel of orderly deliberation. Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised is their bible. Bringing order out of chaos is their pleasure.
There will be several educational presentations on key parliamentary ideas at the upcoming meeting, on Monday, January 26. Most Beta Unit members are day-job professionals who take those ideas and apply them to the workplace. The meeting is being held at that bastion of free discourse, the public library, and citizens are encouraged to attend.
Tennessee Beta Unit of Parliamentarians, Monday, Jan. 26th, 6 p.m., Poplar-White Station Branch Library, 5094 Poplar. Call Jennifer Thompson at 324-5184 for more information.