Oh my sweet Carolina – What compels me to go?
For those of you who have done nothing else but show up here from time to time and read my ramblings. Prepare for more rambling. Rambling with a point. Probably the two things I joke about the most but never bring up in business life is religion and politics. Why? Because those two things will get you in trouble quicker than anything you could talk about.
Growing up I spent a lot of time in Church. It’s what you do in most of the south. Twice a day on Sunday and once on Wednesday night. I did a string of denominations from Southern Methodist to Presbyterian (PCA) an even a few years ago was convinced to go to a Unitarian church for a few meetings. I gave up my Unitarian leanings when everyone started dancing and handing out flowers…my comments post dancing probably helped get me fired by the then current girlfriend. I haven’t made organized religion a part of life for quite some time. Why? Politics. I was tired of people dancing a fine line of separation of church and state. BUT WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE? It’s not important. It would horrify most of you if we got into that discussion.
Same things with Politics – I tend to vote Democratic for about everything. When I started a business everyone told me “YOU GOTTA BE A REPUBLICAN TO OWN A BUSINESS”. They were dead serious about it and in general – no. I don’t.
So when I woke up and saw North Carolina had imposed a law that more or less allowed discrimination – I pretty much beat my head against my desk for a minute or three. I lobbied hard to get FOSS4GNA to North Carolina. GIS people are some of the most inclusive people around (at least for me). I’ve got the pick of gay/straight/TG/Lesbian whatever in this group. Do I care who you are and how you self identify? Nope – as long as you aren’t mean to other people. I know church people. I get it. I can see where something like this would gain traction and the best way to combat it? Vote everyone in public office out for mixing church and politics. Then teach the church people to quit misreading their book.
FOSS4GNA released a statement asking people to still come and it will be a safe environment. It will be. No kidding. I lobbied hard to get it there and so I’ll work to make it safe and happy. You will be happy if I have to make you be happy and cheerful at this event dammit.
Of course my next problem – QGIS. I was just asked to teach a class at a local community college in North Carolina. I have no idea if I’ll get through the red tape or if they’ve dropped the idea. I’m waiting for more emails and phone calls. The problem I have now as me – Randy – they guy with a business is “Do I do it?”. Teaching QGIS relies on students. I want people to come to the class – everyone – Blue/Green/TG/Lesbian/gay/straight/weird to come to the class. I want you to learn about the software….BUT – I’ve survived up until now not teaching at a college. I want everyone happy and safe. If I can’t guarantee that due to a bunch of politicians…..ugh. So I’ve got some decisions to make. I’ve got to make money as a business – BUT………….
So anyway – the class may or may not happen. I have no idea now. “It’s nothing personal it’s just business” rules my life these days…but as someone else told me “It’s all personal”.
Come to Raleigh. The good people outside the politicians that voted on this mean you no harm. You can almost fill your car up at the border and not have to get out again until you hit Raleigh if you are worried. If you are flying in and I’m there I’ll come get you at the airport if you’re worried. Come to the QGIS Class at the Conference – we’re going to tell a lot of lies during those 4 hours. The worst thing you will endure is me.