On November 4, 2014 the American voters displayed their disgust with elected officials who ignore the United States Constitution. The Republican Party swept to a majority in both Houses of Congress. What does that have to do with racing you may ask? It has everything to do with racing in how people enforce rules, apply rules, follow local constitutions and bylaws, and basically how people do business.
There is a lack of leadership in this country and sometimes a lack of leadership in our sport. To become a leader first a person must learn to follow, must learn the history, and must learn why things were done a certain way. If a person does not learn from history then the same mistakes are made over and over.
Too many people think they have power, they want power, they desire to be in charge, but when it comes to accountability they run and hide. Back when the local tracks were NASCAR and we wore white pants and red shirts, we called this the “Red Shirt” syndrome. This is the reason we write rules, we write constitutions, we write bylaws, we write laws, in a democracy these documents define what is expected by both those following or obeying and those leading or enforcing.
It is a challenge for people to take the time and learn their responsibility. Too many people want to dictate rules as they go. Everyone desires consistency, in the racing community it is consistency in calls, knowing the rules and enforcing them as written. It is everyone’s responsibility to read and know the rules and or laws. Ignorance is not an excuse.
Clyde Ellis was someone who left a legacy of following the rules as written, if a racer beats the rules one season, fix it the next season, but do not change the rule during the season. This is so true and still holds true even today where the fast paced society of social media exists. Democracy and our constitution are intended to move slow, just like Clyde with the rules. Roberts Rules of Order require changes to bylaws and constitutions to move slow (3 months), all so there is some consistency some thought, some discussions before proceeding.
Ever wonder why most tracks have two scorers instead of one? It is to ensure fairness, to ensure mistakes are caught and corrected, and to ensure someone does not have so much “power” that they become arrogant. You know how to spot someone who is power hungry, they will make up stuff as they go and when questioned they will not look you in the eye, they may not even respond, or if they do they will not be willing to listen. That is why tracks have rules which allow a driver to question the finish and look at the scoresheets.
With all this said, and as we approach the rule publication part of the year, please take the time to read the rules. If you are member of an organization, please take the time to read the history and the constitution and the bylaws, and the laws of your state and be responsible enough to follow the direction which is provided. This applies to all of us in the racing community, know our rules, know our guidelines, and let’s all work on being more consistent. If you see someone with the “Red Shirt” syndrome let them know it doesn’t work, we can all accept being human, but we can’t accept arrogance of simply ignoring the rules, laws, and constitutions. The Democratic party heard that loud and clear on November 4.