The Elections Are Over. But Here’s One Last Thought To Both Business Owners, And Individuals Alike

I had a long discussion with my barber on Saturday, which I’ve only just recollected as ‘interesting’ now. So, for posterity, I present it here, before it’s gone. Specifically, he asked if I were up to anything new since he’d seen me last. I believe he cares (more than could be said for most of his customers, whom I am sure he asks the same of, which is to say, only a very little) because he’s cut my hair for three decades now. I said no, and then mentioned that I had been tapped to be a precinct committeeman for the Republican party. This got his attention and his response was much like most of the folks I talked to when I told them this: Hates politics; self-centered and indulgent; screwed anyway.

My response was to agree, but also to add that instead of bitching about it, I wanted to see it at work from the inside and make my own determinations, in an effort to effect change, no matter how slight. This actually took him off guard, and we had an interesting conversation about politics as a whole, and what we felt was most wrong with the system. Amazingly, he has a lot of the same core complaints that I do, which I never would have guessed.

I conveyed that, during my first minor forays on the ‘inside’ I was stunned by how cobbled together the local system felt. Many in my position were far, far older than I, and I was one of only two or three of the ‘younger set’ – although this becomes more a ludicrous statement the older I get. I think that, for the most part, people are just so jaded, manipulated, or supported by political systems that they’ve abandoned all hope. And that’s just sad, because our country has within its grasp the power to be great with each and every election. Yet, either the wrong party to effect fundamental change is put into power, or the power taints them too quickly to do any good.

Imagine a world where everyone voted their hearts, or said ‘screw it’ and voted third-party. We all claim it’s impossible, but why? Because we’re afraid to ‘throw away’ our vote on a losing horse. But if enough people do so, is it still a losing horse? Lo, the self-fulfilling prophecy. And that’s not to say that I’m an Independent – I’m typically not: I’m predominantly a Republican. But this year, I got out and did what I felt needed doing, to effect change. It wasn’t a success, but at least I can say that I tried: I did something about the problem I saw.

I am also appalled at how random and superficial the local races were. We elected a former television anchor man who sounded more like a sycophantic Republican than a Democrat. And he won in a landslide. Why? Well, it wasn’t on the strengths of his campaign but, rather I feel, was won on his notariety and ‘connectedness’ to the local consciousness. He’s been in our homes for some 20-30 years, so we ‘know him’ and, therefore, ‘trust him’. It’s so short-sighted as to be laughable yet, in practice, it worked. Now, I ask you: Were the voters really educated? Was he the best candidate? Or did they just vote for what was comfortable and a known quantity? I think he’s the wrong man, but that’s my opinion. And for those that voted for him – great! – at least you voted. But WHY did you vote for him? How many can answer that without resorting to one of the two statements made above?

I’m still waiting for the Jesse Ventura/John Stewart ticket. I really believe that those two, in tandem, could make this nation great again. Laugh if you will, but they’ve got the combined necessary background, and connectivity to the common man – combined with the jaded eye – to make a real difference. Agree or disagree, at least it’s an outside the box option.

Here’s the other frustration he voiced: Local politics is crammed with individuals who are only out for their own gain. To some degree, he may be spot on. But, take a step back and ask yourself why this is. Here’s my theory:

There are three kinds of folks who enter this political realm:
º Those who want change for the good of the community
º Those who want to further their own agendas
º Those who want a little of both

I think everyone begins as one of these but, once inside, the ability to become more like a type-2 begins to supercede all else. I’ll be brutally honest: I’m a type-3. I do want to effect change but, I also want to further my local noteriety for future endeavors, be they political, for purposes of leadership outside of oplitics, or merely recognition as an Author: I want to be known in my community, and I’ve been a shameless self-promoter for about three years now. Yet – all along – I have given as much as I’ve taken. When I do book signings, I give part of the proceeds to charity, and I talk up the locale within my personal spaces and circles. When I opened forums on Facebook for my business, I gave each a purpose. I offer a well-policed, spam-free, area for individuals to gain insight into owning and running their small business, marketing, social media, free computer and technical questions to a plethora of sharp minds, and on and on. I’m offering something, but I’m branding what I offer: Every forum reads ‘Digital Ninjas: >Forum Name Here<. This way, I’m getting something out of it as well.

Back on subject: I felt that by immersing myself into a new realm (politics) I could effect change while gaining noteriety amongst a new crowd of ‘movers and shakers’. And I intend to work it for as long as it’s doing either thing. Having a name like ‘Heath’ also helps – it gets me remembered because it’s fairly singular to most folks. Score two for the parents, I suppose.

Back to his original complaint: local politics is crammed with individuals who are only out for their own gain. I think that, to a goodly degree, this is true. BUT – it’s only true because no one else chooses to make their voice heard. Without others to police and steer the leadership’s decisions, they are more apt to treat it as a personal prospect. And who’s to blame them? If no one cares enough to do something, and they are there, and in power, why NOT effect their own agendas? I personally cannot say that I wouldn’t do the same in their shoes. And that isn’t to say I’m looking to screw anyone – I’m not. But if I have a choice to make, and I know what I would do, yet have no further data or voices of the community to otherwise steer my decision, then I’m more likely to do what >I< feel is right, aren’t I? This is where it is so crucial for local individuals to become involved in their local government. I can tell you for a fact that I often get ‘talked out’ of an initial idea at work. How? Because I take into account the thoughts of others, and often see a flaw in my thinking, or a better way. Without this additional input, I would not run a $3 million dollar company. In fact, I might not be running a company at all.

At a recent meeting of local government, a prior vote was discussed. Everything was set into motion, and the day of the vote came. Know how many of the more than 10,000 residents showed to voice their opinion? FIVE. So I don’t want to hear any more about local politics being self-serving – you’re damn right it is, and YOU’RE the reason it is. So go to these meetings, say your peace, tell your friends, and make your voice heard. THEN – and only then – do you earn the right to cast stones and complain. 


~ by digitalninjasmedia on November 25, 2012.

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