Stateline Election 2017-Lessons Learned
Listening to my local news and wondering, out loud, how someone who has millions of dollars to spend could find themselves millions of dollars in the hole just really did not make sense to me. Especially since the money that they were spending did not totally belong to them. I had a hard time understanding how someone trusted to represent those who elected them, could ignore their pleas and cries while pretending to hear them at the same time. After several days of this and many rhetorical questions later, my wife made one solid suggestion. She suggested that I either stop complaining or run for office and fix the things I saw was wrong. As I looked into her eyes, saw that she was serious and felt the faith that she had in me to not only care about the suffering but my ability to figure out a way to stop it, I became convinced that she was right. It didn’t take much longer for me to begin to conceive of ideas and ways to fix these issues as well as justification for why these changes were needed. All that was left was figuring out the logistics as far as money, time and places to begin the message. The money really wasn’t a big thing, math and budgeting has always been my friend. I was allotted the time being self-employed and having a home office, it was the message and how it should be delivered that provided the biggest challenge but even that fell away when it became clear that staying true to oneself is the only sure-fire way to get people who you do not know to see you clearly for the first time.
What needed to be changed was the way we funded this city and the common wisdom that taking from Peter to pay Paul was the ideal way to run anything and that as long as you can enter in adjustments to your balance sheets, your budget will always be in balance. What needed to change were the way things have always been done and the immediate dismissal of anything new, fresh and exciting. So many before spoke about it but none had ever presented it on paper before with the numbers available for all to see, so this was going to be our approach to this issue and even though much fuss was made when we said the words, once they saw the numbers on paper and had the time to check, re-check and double check them, that issue was not a major stumbling block any more.
What needed to be changed was how all other issues facing this city were viewed by those who were and those who still are in a position of authority. Many railed against division of the city into “us versus them” or “east side versus west side” but refusal to accept the responsibility of creating this division was not something that they wanted to own. Those who were being blamed for stroking this division were seen as attempting to divide but the truth is many of those bringing this to light were not the ones who were ever in charge, ever in a position of authority nor benefitted from being in charge or authority so were they really the ones with whom the creation of this division should rest? What needed to change was the perception that crime was not a produce of years of neglect and abandonment by those in authority but simply an idea of wealth. That the more money you have the happier and more deserving you are. That those who happen to show up where you are, had to enter from the rear of the building and were a product of their fragmented family, their poor choices and their lack of education. What we showed was crime was a mixture of justified frustration, justified anger and unjustified choices. What we showed was crime was part of a tangled web we live now not called life but simply a cycle of existence and because these are inter-connected circles that can be broken are often ignored and considered invisible to those in positions of power. What we showed was crime and all other issues facing this city are truly man-made and can be solved by man but before anything will ever be done it has to be owned by those in authority. Failure to admit that this city is home to more than just their immediate families and friends and that we are all truly connected through none other than God Almighty prevents anyone from fixing anything.
What we learned throughout this process is that the amount of money you have is irrelevant for local elections as long as your ideas are clear concise and sincere. What we learned is those already in power are not so eager to relinquish that power and will do all that they can to retain it even if it means disowning themselves to do it. What we learned is the majority will say that they want change but continue to vote the exact same way expecting that maybe because the same words uttered prior but never delivered upon, coming from a different person will finally work. We learned that when former political powerhouses chooses their champion others whose personality is more dependent that defiant will fall into line. We learned that 81.9% of the voters did so along party lines and based upon friends or family, while 18.1% actually did vote for change while maintaining the friends and family connection. We learned that while some see this as a loss for me, it is far from it when you consider that being an unknown and not having the connections and notoriety of the others as well as staying true to oneself and then realizing that less than 1% of Americans served in the military, capturing those 361 votes ranks right up there with my children being born, finding my earth angel again and wearing that uniform of a U.S. Marine. I think the most important lesson that I learned was my military experience and my life experience not only prepared me for this race but the job because once you make the decision that no one’s personal decision of who you are will ever define you and no one’s ideas about you will ever be a true measure of who you are and your only true limitations are those you place upon yourself, there is no mountain that will ever be too high