Politics and public policy are like Thai food. For years, I wouldn’t consider eating Thai because spicy food is too much for my system (let’s not go there.) In Tifton, Georgia, I got brave and decided to try Thai food at Coconuts Asian Bistro. My neighbor, who is a food and fitness guy, told me that the people at Coconuts can make Thai dishes without the famous “heat.” He was right and I am developing a tolerance for bolder dishes.
Officials are elected to serve all of the people in their area; not just those who voted for them. My conservative friends are as spicy as Thai food with their ideas about governing and the same can be said about the liberals I know. Of course, moderates can see the wisdom in taking elements and concerns from everyone.
Follow me on this one: GOP congressional candidate Ray McKinney called me minutes after Obama won the presidency and I asked if he wanted me to help him grasp moderation so he could improve his chances of winning in a swing district. Ray and real conservatives will discuss issues with others but see policy flexibility as weakness. Anyone who flexes his positions is a professional politician. Yes, there are professional politicians or public servants who gauge the views of the whole area and serve with secondary regard for their personal views.
The mentality is “I know what’s best for me and also know what’s best for you.” What happen to “all men are created equal.” It’s an insult when some people consider themselves more American than others. President Obama is in Ireland this week. We know when his father came here and his mother was a descendant of an Irishman who arrived in America 160 years ago–which would likely be 160 years after my folks were brought here against their will in the hulls of ships. But, some people feel for whatever reasons that they have the right to make policy without input from those who pay fewer taxes or create fewer jobs. At the same time, knuckleheads in my area have little regard for community and have developed an entitlement mentality but that is another subject for another day.
In my personal opinion, Georgia two senators and my congressman try to serve public policy that is mindful of most Georgians. You would never know that Senator Isakson’s record is so conservative because he plates up his dishes in a cool manner. We all know that Sanford Bishop ran for congress while his personal views were left of center but SDB has a good comfort level with most people and quickly developed the ability to serve those who voted for him and surprisingly the regional interests of those who didn’t. A public servant in a swing district must have that ability.
If conservatives would produce candidates who could dial down the spiciness initially, they could secure more of the center. If you think about it, many current conservatives made the transition over time by developing a palate for the Right (former Georgia governor Sonny Purdue and current Georgian governor Nathan Deal were both Dems in the 90s.) That hot, nasty style of politics runs people off. I would have a better life if I was a vegan or raw foods guy but that is not happening overnight—let’s start with some carrots. If redistricting changes the composition of a congressional district, the temperament of the congress person from that area should also change. Some folks don’t get that and they might be the same people who spice all the food while cooking for others. The recipe says “season to taste.”