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The advice referred to in the diary's title is advice highlighted by Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon professor who gave the famous "Last Lecture," memorialized on YouTube and in his fine book of the same name.
Near the end of his lecture he spoke about advice he heard from his friend, Syl. Here is what he said:
Syl gave the best advice pound-for-pound I have ever heard. And I think all young ladies should hear this. Syl said, it took me a long time but I've finally figured it out. When it comes to men that are romantically interested in you, it's really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do. It's that simple. It's that easy.(From here.)
We often read reports about politicians saying this or that ... They're always 'talking' about something or other. Issues, people, credit, blame, threats, possibilities, hopes. Even the best don’t always talk positively.
But politics in the 21st Century United States isn’t just a contact sport, it’s downright vitriolic. The tone of political discourse has never been nastier, it has never been less respectful, it has never been less cooperative. There has never been a time when there were fewer shared goals and objectives, But neither has there ever been a time when the contrast between the political parties is greater, or clearer.
One of the best descriptions of the contrast was given by fictional president, Andrew Shepherd, in the movie, The American President. His words:
We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson (Republican presidential candidate in the movie) is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections.(Quote from here.)
That clip is one of my favorite passages in cinema. I don’t know why Democratic politicians don’t use its power in their speeches. President Shepherd highlighted the real problem with conservative politics. There is no serious problem they wish to solve. It’s all gay marriage and abortion and illegal immigration and the right to have guns and to shoot people with them at will. Hunger, which directly affects tens of millions, health care, which directly affects tens of millions, public education, in which all of us should be deeply invested, equality, which affects every one of us, fairness, which affects every one of us - those hold no interest for them, not because they’re unimportant, but because they offer no prospects of electoral advantage. They don’t want to solve ANY real problems. Worst of all, they can’t afford for Democrats to ever solve problems, either, or their primary thesis, which is that government is the problem, not the solution, is undermined. That’s why the party offers candidates like Jim DeMint of South Carolina for exceptionally high ranking positions. You can’t find a person LESS competent than DeMint. That’s why he’s working in politics instead of making a fortune in business. What business would want him? He doesn’t even want to solve problems important to many Republicans, things like deepening the Charleston harbor for shipping traffic. (I’m not posting links because Google delivers too many. He claims that his is a philosophical objection to political ‘earmarks,’ but his real objection is to government solving ANY problem. If government doesn’t work, opportunity for incompetents like him to find work in government increases.)
The amazing thing is, Randy Pausch’s friend, Syl, gave the clearest answer imaginable, applying it initially to the issue of romantically interested men. But it works even better for politicians. Ignore everything they say and pay attention only to what they do.
Do they solve problems? Okay! It’s a reasonable starting point in evaluating the politician! Do they just run their mouths? Do they conjure up endless series of boogymen to scare the public with? Do they create problems where none existed before? Do they work to sell voters on social issues that don’t really affect anybody?
Seriously, American voters. Ignore everything they say, and look only at what they do. There are almost no Republican politicians nationally or in any US state who want to tackle real problems faced by real people. If they don’t DO things to address problems, deny them your vote. Vote instead for people who do things to make our country better, safer and more functional.
And in your own personal life, make sure your actions dovetail with your words. If you say you will do something, do it. If you don’t intend to do something, don’t say you will. Credibility may not seem to be a problem for some conservative politicians, but it should be, and Democrats should always shine a spotlight on glaring inconsistency between word and deed, and on people who simply don’t want to help with ANY problem, except seeing to their own re-election in perpetuity.
(That shirt is one of the offerings from snorgtees.)
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