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Personal shortcoming

More than one person told me recently they skip my political rants. I wanted to ask why. Is the writing bad? Is it old news? Does the tone put them off?

Then I asked myself, “why do I care?”

I’m not big on plans or goals. Part of the yearly review at work is a short q/a on our occupational goals. My answer is never very impressive: to understand my weaknesses and do a little better than last year. I always get the sense they’re expecting me to say something like, “… in five years I’d like to be a (some management position), leading to (some higher management position) in ten years.” The truth is I have no specific goals. The larger, shameful truth is I never really have.

(It’s not something to brag about, and I don’t mean to make it sound like I am now. It’s part of a point I plan to make eventually.)

That’s bullshit, right? Maybe it is to some extent. I had something in mind when I took the SATs in high school, or asked Cheryl out on a date. I suppose I make the occasional goal when I have to, but otherwise I tend to drift. That’s not to say I lack initiative. I see things that need fixing at work all the time, and I think I do a pretty good job fixing them. You want to throw a guy into court from our office without any preparation – I’m your guy. But scheming, planning, forging strategy? It’s not me. I suck at chess. I don’t particularly like looking ahead. I’m all about the now.

The truth is I never really had to plan or set goals. It’s not because I’m super smart or I have some innate, wonderfully marketable skill. I’ve been awfully lucky. I was born in the right place, to the right people, had the right teachers, and met the right girl.

This year is a little different.

Off the clock (re: not at work), I’m a timid, scared little boy. Speaking in front of groups or debating people I don’t know scares the bejesus out of me. I get more nervous opening my mouth to speak than I do exposing a vein for my oncologist. And you know what? Despite that fear I’ve seriously considered volunteering for a campaign. For the first time I’ve donated money. I’ve explained my political positions to people, in situations where I would have remained quiet in the past. That’s how seriously I take this election and what I feel is at stake. I don’t fantasize about reaching and influencing thousands of readers with this blog. I don’t need an imagination, WordPress and Feedburner tell me exactly how many of you there are: a couple dozen at MOST. That’s ok. You already know I don’t have a lot of goals, and I certainly don’t plan on becoming a must read for the blogosphere at large. But even if there’s only a couple of you that read through to the end of this post, it’s an opportunity to make my small difference. It’s one of my few goals. I hope someone of a more conservative point of view might read my ranting and find a good point or two. I hope someone who shares my views might find something here to inspire them to do more.

Maybe I’m reaching too far. Maybe I’m not playing to my strengths. If I can’t convince you to do anything else, and by some chance you’re still reading, do two (maybe three) thing(s) for me.

If you haven’t already done so, learn more about the candidates running for office. Study their positions and their records. You may find it depressing. You may find it stokes the cynic in you. Do it anyway. If you haven’t already done so, register to vote.

Don’t leave the choice to some yahoo who’s voting for a fantasy drinking buddy.

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  1. For what it’s worth, John, I’m impressed and proud that you’re taking these steps, becoming involved. I know both my (Congressional) candidates fairly well, and I’m not sure who I’ll be voting for. While I like Tom Allen (who’s currently in the House), I’m not sure it’s the best thing for the country to boot out one of the few moderate Republicans (Susan Collins) remaining in the Senate. Collins breaks party rank more often than Allen does.

    Which brings me to a rather irritating point: both of Maine’s Senators are women with impressive independent streaks. Both socially moderate-to-liberal, both fiscally conservative, but more concerned with small business than big business. They both fit the (tired) “maverick” description, both have lots of economic, defense, and foreign policy experience (though Olympia Snowe is obviously better executive material than Collins), but neither were vetted by McCain.

    They didn’t pass the beer-buddy test. That this is even an issue still pisses me off.

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