I tell kids, classes of kids at promotion and graduation, regularly, that the most important thing they can do is to always, always, always tell the truth, the whole truth, the forthright truth. If you know you lie, you can’t trust yourself. If you can’t trust yourself, you can never develop true confidence. Without earned confidence, life becomes much tougher than it should be.
Politics of today has little to do with truth, but lots to do with “spin” and manipulation of half-truths. Regularly, many people who have earned positions of authority bend the truth and lie out-right to defend their positions. The results are no different in business, or government, than they are in personal relationships. You might get away with it for a while, but in the end, lies catch up to you.
A decade ago, maybe two, news made on the east coast never made it to us, unless it was big, and then we got it the next day. In today’s connected world, we can know, in seconds, what happens anywhere on our planet. Within communities, the detail of what is passed on, whether fact or not, changes personal behavior virtually instantly.
Oh, there are lots of shrill voices, opinions abound, everyone has one, and the higher their political office or the thicker their wallet, the more we hear about their perspective. In today’s world, the pace is fast, a crisis on every news channel each hour, and if there isn’t really a crisis, one is made up.
In much of America, the advantage of world-wide connectedness has come with a price - the loss of a sense of community.
The net effect, perhaps inevitably, but certainly unfortunately, is that as a society, we have lost trust in each other and many of our American institutions.
In Arizona, the loss of trust and frustration is evident. While 71% of our eligible voting population is registered, only 54% of them vote. That means less than 39% of people who could vote actually do.
I think many folks have just given up on their citizenship (taking an active role in democracy) because they just can’t see how it matters. As in, it makes no difference what I think anyway, so why should I vote. Maybe that’s a quiet way of saying, “I no longer trust the system”.
When we campaign and legislate as we have, tearing each other down, making false statements, party before people, losing trust is a given.
Great leadership means leading to a common vision, communicating that vision so that all understand, earning trust daily, having personal regard for all, and staying forever positive; so says Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus in Strategies for Taking Charge. We need to establish a Vision for Arizona that would guide our elected leaders. A Vision grounded in common sense and common cause. Arizona is bigger than the Republican Party, bigger than the Democratic Party. It is not the Party who wins that should be most important, but rather the overall well-being of our citizenry.
I believe Arizonans want civil discourse to disagree agreeably and use common sense to find common cause and agree to a common vision. Wouldn’t that be a welcome change and a great Choice?