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American Legion: Let’s be proper

By Staff | Aug 6, 2020

I always thought being proper meant wearing the right outfits for various activities, the right shoes with those outfits, remembering to say please and thank you, calling people sir or ma’am, and cleaning up after one’s self no matter where you are. However, I soon learned when one is a member of any organization, there is so much more to what is considered being proper and I was really amazed to learn how little I really know about the subject.

A very important lesson is that the Chair doesn’t mean the apparatus upon which one sets his/her derrierre; rather, it pertains to the presiding officer, who is generally the President.

Another important term is Quorum which is the minimum number of members who have to be present in order for there to be any valid transactions of business. (Quorum is Latin and is the genitive plural of qui who, but since I am not a student of Latin, I’m not sure what the definition is actually saying!).

Division of the question allows for a motion which is involved, by having two or more parts to be divided into sections and is each one is voted on one at a time in succession. Motion for a division of the question requires someone to second it and passes by a majority vote.

But, the Division of the Assembly is used to call for a rising vote when the outcome of the vote is unclear. This doesn’t require a second or vote on the request.

I was also surprised to learn there are actually four Principal Motions; main, subsidiary, privileged and incidental. A motion consists of seven steps and must have at least two persons wanting to discuss a certain topic, and it must also be seconded, otherwise, the motion will die.

In order for things to proceed correctly at a meeting, proper Parliamentary procedures must apply certain established rules of parliamentary law and rules of common sense, courtesy and fairness. That means showing courtesy and justice to everyone, acting on only one thing at a time, understanding the rules of the majority and the rights of the minority to be heard.

With so much of our normal living being curtailed and social distancing a necessity to prevent the virus from continuing to spiral out of control, it’s comforting to know that at all American Legions, the proper protocol is being followed, even though at times it may seem a bit tedious , albeit even sometimes a bit boring.

Showing courtesy and justice to all and allowing the rights off the minority to be acknowledged is something we all need to remember in our daily dealings.

Let’s Be Proper by taking a page from the Family of the American Legion and acting accordingly towards our fellow man!