"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A political rant

By the time November 2nd rolls around, I'm hoping to have the will to vote. I know I'll have the desire to beat something – anything – with a baseball bat, just from listening to all of the ads.

I'm tired of the accusations and the exposés and the mudslinging by the spin doctors on all sides, so here's my two-cents, as a registered voter, to all the politicians out there: It's all about you, isn't it?

Last year, I was president of my son's choir booster club. We began the year in rough shape. Due to various reasons, we owed several thousand dollars, to both companies and parents. Even though it wasn't my credit score on the line, I felt the enormous weight of all the money we needed to raise – just to pay our debts off. I wasn't even certain if we'd raise enough to pay for what our kids needed this year.

I'm no financial wizard. I had no grand ideas for getting out of this mess. I only had two things going for me: 1) my honesty, and 2) my eternal optimism, both of which I hoped were contagious. For our first meeting, I explained our situation to the other parents and appealed to their sense of honor. We needed to make these debts right. And then I asked for their help.

The parents responded in ways bigger and better than I could have ever imagined. We paid our outstanding balances, we raised enough money to get music for the teacher and send the kids on a couple of small tours, and we ended the year with enough in the bank to get the next year started in the black.

I'm not telling this story to brag – I didn't do anything special. The parents did it all. I was just the cheerleader. I'd probably make a poor politician, because it'd be hard for me to tell everyone how I am going to solve the government's problems. All I could do is tell you, honestly, what the problems are, and appeal to you to help me solve them.

So it pisses me off to see all these politicians tell me how they're going to fix everything, because all I see are people who think they are going to ramrod their ideas down everyone's throats. Even if they're good ideas, do you have to be a bulldozer?

(An aside I must throw in here: in my state, and possibly in others, we've got former CEOs running for office. There's a lot of bragging about how much money they made for their company and shareholders. But what was it like for their employees? Did they offer good health plans, pay a living wage, treat them like human beings? Do they see the voters as shareholders or employees?)

A long time ago, a teacher described the difference between a manager and a leader. A manager pushes work onto their employees. A leader draws results from their employees.

I'm tired of being managed. Where are the leaders?

Okay, rant over. Hurry up, November 2nd. I want to get this thing over.

1 comment:

Patricia Stoltey said...

Excellent post, Gayle. You echo the opinions of many of us who fast-forward through the TV ads and refuse to answer the phone again until after the election.

There are few problems we can't solve if we work together as your group did. And I'd sure rather work with my peers on a project than rely on politicians for anything.

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