Archive for January, 2011

High Hopes

January 21, 2011

As a lobbyist, I give civics lessons.  I introduce clients to the state legislature.  I speak truth, but not the whole truth. Don’t want to discourage them.  First, I describe the political process as it should be, as we desire it to be. I avoid reports of petty disputes over offices and other indicia of power.  Starting with a tenth grade civics overview of the three branches of government, I focus on the legislature.  Further, I embellish the lesson with descriptions of  Senators and Representatives, their life stories, their interests, their foibles.  Only then, do I detail the actual process, with all its potential for disappointment for the hopeful citizen.  When the NC General Assembly convenes on 1/26/11, Republicans will preside, holding majorities in both chambers.  North Carolinians have not witnessed a Republican-ruled Senate in more than 100 years. In Raleigh, newly elected legislators arrive with small boxes and high hopes.  Retiring and defeated legislators linger.  Bigger the offices, the longer they take to move out.  Many packing boxes.  Apparently, lots of shredding to do.  There are messages, typed in huge font, taped on desks and wall hangings: “DO NOT MOVE”.  Not sure what this means, except they own or think they own the items, and want the control as long as possible.  The new steely eyed victors don’t see the pictures.  Don’t care about offices, except the temporary inconvenience of no desks, no phones, no email addresses.  The young staffers are like race horses, being edged into the starting block, twitching with excitement.  The bell will sound, and the gates will open.  There will be a thunder of hooves, and clouds of dust.  But my folks won’t feel the adrenalin, won’t hear the noise.  My clients’ hopes are the true, honest constant in this biennial process.  They hope for lower taxes if possible, but certainly more for their money.  They hope for less burdensome government.  Working longer for less, they sense our grim economic outlook.  They don’t look to Raleigh for salvation.  But, they hope the 2011 legislature is alive with brave souls.  They hope for wise decisions, restraint, and righteousness in government.  North Carolinians may not use these words exactly, but they have high hopes indeed.

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Ladies, I give you permission to abandon ship

January 11, 2011

This is definitely a chick flick, or more accurately, a chick’s blog entry.  I know few men who will be interested enough to find the exit below.  I joined a small professional organization several years ago.  I reconnected with a couple of great women.  I remained involved because a friend asked me to help her change the org.  I attended, listened, acquainted, and observed.  I hate committee meetings, but spent hours on a conference call listening to others conduct a board meeting.  After serious and heartfelt debate, they voted wrong on the most important issues.  Presumably, I am to change the culture of the organization by outliving the earth mothers in charge. My dues support a political agenda foreign and repulsive to me.  Why am I doing this?  I am prone to want to “belong”, hence Facebook, LinkedIn, and this promise of being “somebody” in a second tier organization.  Soon, I chafed at the situation, but felt obligated.  Before, I lost any inner debate by drowning in a sea of guilt.  I would have submitted wordlessly.  Going, I would arrive late to every meeting, and resent every task.   Now, I will say no.  Yes,  I feel guilty because I told a nice lady I would support her work.  But I still get to say no, and mean it.  Do you find yourself feeing obligated, oppressed, actually miserable in your busy-ness?  Do you complain about it, feel trapped, but resolutely refuse to leave?  Ladies, I give you permission to abandon ship.   Declare your independence, and don’t pay the dues for 2011.  I reject the guilt, the busy-ness, and the oppressive weight of it all.  Where is the exit?  I am out of here.  Discard the invoice.  Don’t go to the oppressor’s first meeting.  Delete its future activities from your calendar.  Stay home.  Quieten.  Give peace time to wing its way into your heart.  Now, this is liberation.