Our lives are often based on being in or out of certain circles—which club, which church, which school, which family, which neighborhood. We need elected officials who move, listen and function comfortably in all circles. The problem is people are sometimes on the inside and don’t care about the outside.
Heaven knows my life would have been better if I made the proper associations but I am hardheaded and thought I would live on the merits of my work and the content of my character. That plan has gotten me next to nothing because it’s all about circles, groups, and cliques and I am almost a member of nothing. Hell, I am about as much a Democratic as Colin Powell is a Republicans.
Thugs, ultra-conservatives, city liberals, the defense industrial complex, homeschoolers, the ag community, Hollywood, the money behind hip hop, the Black elite, ad men, gun owners, talk radio, various segments of the faith community. The list goes on and on but the important question is how much planning and thinking happens inside a group relative to those outside.
We are in the middle of local election season and those at the top of a community seem to wonder why they should dialog with others. To me, it is clear that southern communities will improve when we figure out a way to lift everyone because those who stop caring about how they carry themselves are a drain on the community as a whole.
For example, most rural Blacks have no idea the things said about them by others. Others have little knowledge of the distrain that some Blacks carry in their hearts. The best elected officials, public policy makers, members of the clergy and business leaders will have a function relationship with everyone. Hey, the Pope of Rome is the number one preacher on the planet but he connects with regular people in a special way; in a way that Jesus would like.
In Sylvester, Georgia, Christian conservatives must be ecstatic because a tough pastor is running for mayor. A pastor who communicates with ease with congressmen and with the guys on the corners—between the two, the corner boys might have better character. Since Pat Robertson and the 700 Club first got involved in modern politics, some have waited for a crop of faith-based candidates who would engage every part of the area in community improvement with positive energy. In a strange twist, those guys should be concern becauuse a pastpr in City Hall would be something else. Will the faith community from both sides of the track support a candidate from my side of town? We will see and let the best man for the job win but I submit that the job might have a new job description. As I see it, the current mayor has done an adequate job with the traditional role of the position. But, we are in difficult times and someone frankly needs to get stern with some folks.
Fred Durst teamed up with the band Staind back in the day and made a rock ballad about being on the outside while looking in on those on the inside. That tune is my jam because I can so relate. Dude passionately sings, “I can see through you…see your true colors…inside you are ugly..you are ugly like me.” There is a school of thought in public policy called representative bureaucracy; basically, can a rich person who never lived in the projects manage the projects. Can they relate? Well, the Kennedys cared about poor people and they haven’t been poor since Joseph Kennedy got rich bootlegging liquor during prohibition.
For me, I like my elected officials to be representative of the area they serve. Congress shouldn’t be made up of people from the Ivy League and Morehouse College only. Look, a poor White guy knows more about my community than Jesse Jackson’s rich kids. If you wanted to win a local election, I like to hear that you aren’t perfect—no one but Jesus has ever been. And, let he who is without sin…. The president of the United States was in a food stamp household as a kid and his father was ghost. Improving the community starts with knowing the community.
On the real, Obama might not have been president if he spent more time in the Senate first because the current Congress has issues. Have you seen those approval numbers? The president was a bona fide outsider and he didn’t have a chance to get stained.