Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Caveat Lectores on Santa Claus, Professional Wrestling and Public Meetings

For those of you who accept the reality of Santa Claus and professional wrestling, you must now accept some usually undiscussed realities about politics and public meetings. Many are fully aware of this but others not so much.

Elected officials almost never make up their minds on an issue because of what happens at a public meeting or hearing expressly called for the purpose of discussing the merits of the issue at hand. How can that be? Have they been lying to us all this time? Is this all a charade? Is it just a show to make us feel like they care? The answers are yes and no.

No, you were not lied to because you have never asked the questions. Yes, you may have been lied to if you were led to believe that the decision was made at the last minute. This probably was not the case. You just wanted to believe a fairy tale like Santa Claus. By the way, Santa Clause does exist, but not quite in the simple terms we tell our kids when they are small.

The reality of political decision making is that the politician’s vote may be recorded at the committee meeting, bill hearing, general meeting or whatever we call when the votes are tallied. However, the decision is nearly always made prior to the meeting based on the information received and digested by the official. The information that causes the decision comes from many sources not the least of which is from one or more lobbyists.

The time to convince a politician of the merits of your position begins long before any public meeting to tally the yeas and nays. Political decision making is always complex. Some will say the decision comes from the first or last input received. Others will say the decision comes due to the loudest or most sustained voices or regrettably the voice with the largest checkbook.

Most often, the decision comes from a combination of all the sources of influence. If anyone knew with absolute certainty what and how much to do to guarantee success, that person would be incredibly rich. A lot of people are trying to get rich claiming they have the secret formula. There are a lot of names to describe these people, both good and bad, but all are lobbyists in one form or another. That is the way our system of government works.

I do not believe the process now in effect subverts democracy or representative government. It does make it more difficult for naïve people who actually believe they can go to a meeting and change the outcome. It can happen, but counting on it happening causes the frustration that so many people feel about politics.

• Some people think they are above all this political BS and refuse to participate. They are losers.

• Some people will not do what is necessary to be successful for many reasons. They are losers.

• Some people are just too lazy to do what they must do to succeed politically. They are losers.

• Some people eventually get the idea and do what they must to get what they or their constituents need. They are winners.

The question becomes: Are you a winner or loser?

BTW, professional wrestling is faked only to those who believe it is a competitive sport. It is a very dangerous show that provides entertainment to some. Politics may be a show as well that can provide success but only to those who participate. Spectators get what is left over.

And Oh yes, have a nice day?


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