Cover 2 Cover Magazine November 2011 : Page 22
Main Street to Capitol Hill – Are You Listening? by Paige Arnof-Fenn If your mom was anything like mine, she probably told you there were a few topics that were off limits in polite conversation – politics & religion were usually top of that list. Well this month our theme is politics and next month we’ll tackle religion here at Cover-2Cover. Sorry mom, duty calls! November feels like an election month even in a non election year. The one year countdown can now offi-cially begin! For some die hards, politics can be really hard core. For me I am registered as an Independent voter so I evaluate each candidate on their positions not their party affiliation. Some voters have single issues that drive their deci-sion like taxes or abortion or gay marriage for ex-ample. I tend to look for qualities in politicians like people who can cross their party lines to work with each other to make things happen. In business, being able to negotiate a compromise, is often how deals get made, but it seems much harder in recent years on Capitol Hill for politicians to come together. When I was a kid it seemed at least that they could debate during the day, then go out to grab a meal or beer after work and still be friends. Today relations seem to be a lot more strained and every disagreement is taken very personally. What can politicians learn from Main Street to help them regain some of the confidence we have lost in our elected leaders: • Do not spend money you do not have yet! Live within your means. Maxing out credit cards is a dangerous way to live, so learn some basic accounting and economics to make better budget decisions. • Respect the position, even if you do not agree with their views. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Play nicely in the sandbox, be civil. • Do not ask others to do things you yourself would not want to do. Politicians should not be 22 Cover 2 Cover Magazine | November 2011 getting cost of living adjustments if their con-stituents don’t get one too! Main Street gets paid for performance not tenure/seniority. Politicians should fight for people in their district or state to get the same health care benefits that they are being offered. Life has term limits and Capitol Hill should too! • Respect deadlines and timelines. How does Washington function for most of the year with-out an approved budget? It doesn’t! C’mon people this is embarrassing, be responsible here. • Make your staff and advisors representative of the groups you were sent to Washington to protect. Half the population is female last time I checked. Do you have enough estrogen around your table at all levels? Make sure the voices on your team are representative by race, age, reli-gion, class, etc. if not, why not? • Ask the tough questions no one has the guts to surface but everyone is thinking. Celebrate failures so we can learn from them. Do not hide important information or data that does not sup-port your position. We all win in the end when we have all the relevant info available to make the best decision we can. It seems as if only the independently wealthy or truly egotistical & narcissistic run for most elected offices today. We need all kinds of honest, ethical, knowl-edgeable people to be addressing today’s complex issues. Our forefathers fought hard for our right to vote, so please do not take that privilege for granted. You certainly do not have the right to complain if you do not cast your vote. It makes me sad that more Americans vote for the next American Idol/ Voice/Biggest Loser/ name your reality show than for the President of the United States! One year to go, so consider yourselves warned –it is time to get serious about politics! Get involved in your community for the issues you care about. Every-one needs to participate to make things run smoothly so get out there and vote!