Politics is like marriage, if you do not want the other side to look positive, win, be better than or look positive, then you must do everything in your power to make the other side look bad so that you can look good. This is why the divorce rate is so high and why we feel that our political leaders are ineffective. But you can help by registering to vote on the local level and expressing your desire to help cut through the gridlock. Registering is only half of the problem. Then you must go and vote.
People are feeling like they are being held hostage. The one thing that we must remember though is when you involve yourself in local politics there is always someone who is for what you believe in and someone who is against it. You also run the risk of being attacked personally and professionally, just like in a bitter divorce.
Politics can be brutal especially when you have to de-radicalize (I love it when you get to write a word that is so outrageous that it may not even exist) some people due to who your friends are. What I mean is you may have to tell someone that they are not telling the truth or just ignore flat out rumors that were created to feed into the negativity the other person is trying to create.
If it all sounds confusing, it is. Politics is meant to be shrouded in non-transparent activities. There is a lot of behind the scenes activity going on in the political world. You must engage in conversation with people you may not particularly enjoy being around.
Seeing unfounded political fear in candidate is one of the most unattractive traits in a person. Usually that fear is created by the lack of institutional knowledge and also from the fact that most politicians do not reach out to pockets of people who “live on the other side” and when they do it is with the “look what I have done for all of ‘these’ people” tactic. The days of doing what is right for the people through cooperation and constructively dealing with the challenges of the system are long gone.
For my colleagues in the media who like to create drama where it is not, all you are doing in undermining the ability for people and politicians to show both sides of the real debate. People are losing confidence in your ability to be fair.
Another issue that we have, especially in local government, the power that special interest “groups or persons” have over the ability of politicians to make sound decisions regarding what people who live in the city want. Special interest groups have the power and become detrimental to the focus of the politician on the broader goals to be achieved.
To the politicians, people are pessimistic about what you have to offer. Traditional theory indicates that when you appear busy on a televised meeting by using your cell phone or the computer that is not respectful. In an effort to win over the hearts and minds of your constituents, please pay attention. The excuse that you are looking something up that may somehow help during the meeting is ridiculous. By conducting this type of behavior is not within the scope of the Open Meetings Act.
As the ones who choose who will lead us, the general public needs to understand that we make the sacrifice when we pick the wrong candidates. It is not just about yourself either, you have to consider what they do for others and if it is always the same people, places or things. Do they pick up the phone, return calls or express concern about your issue? We vote them in. Call and ask what they can do for you.
Please choose to be right.
This was printed in the July 28, 2013 - August 10, 2013 Edition