Mozilla needs your love and help right now. More than just a debate about our CEO, this threatens to divide us in other ways if we let it. We need dialogue, and to bring open hearts and minds around the two crucial issues here — both of which are meaty and substantive and vitally important to Mozilla:
- (1) We don’t need to agree on everything — or force ideological consensus — in order to work with others. That’s a vital part of Mozilla’s open culture and mission. A lot of people have fought for this principle. It’s at the heart of what makes open source vibrant, diverse and practical. And it’s a fragile thing worth protecting.
- (2) But there are limits to that openness — and those limits center around basic rights. The world has changed. For many (including me), marriage equality is now a rights issue — and no longer just a speech or “personal opinion” issue. So when colleagues frame this purely as a matter of personal opinion, they signal to others that they don’t understand or haven’t considered this difference. That’s why simply doubling down on “freedom of speech” or personal opinion arguments will not work as a way to work past this. The situation requires more.
This is hard. It deserves to be treated that way. Many of us feel very strongly about either or both of these issues — and so it requires nuanced, Mozilla-style reasoning that weighs both sides to find a solution.
If you believe in (2), as I do, I think we’re served by demonstrating patience and compassion here. The difference between marriage equality as a right versus a matter of political or personal opinion is nuanced, historically recent, and culturally complex for a global community like Mozilla’s. And it’s on us to demonstrate that we understand and show respect for (1) as well, and not skip it over casually. For a lot of people, it’s at the heart of the Mozilla project.
Our ability to work this through — together in the open, with open hearts and minds — is even more important than any decision about our CEO. It will determine our strength once all this is done.