Thursday, December 30, 2010

What a Concept - Politics that Does More than Talk

Ok, let me start out with a nod to the obvious: those of us in Dallas know nothing about snow...not really. Occasionally we'll have what amounts in other areas of the country, a mild dusting of the white stuff. But we don't know snow. Earlier in February, we were blanketed by about 3 feet of snow, and it lasted for about a week or so. But, for the most part our contact with snowstorms are limited to our favorite TV shows and movies.

So when we see what's happening in the northeast, I'm particularly sympathetic. To everyone. The people who are stranded in airports. The people who are trapped. Those who are trying to dig out the people who are trapped. The poor, the elderly. Heck, even the rich have problems in weather like this!

My sympathies even extend to the politicians. What on earth do you do?! You don't control weather. Under the best of circumstances you can't reach people in a time frame that satisfies everyone. At the same time, this is a basic city service. So people expect you to deliver.

So what do you do?

If you are Newark, New Jersey mayor Cory Booker, you get out there and help. This is amazing. And it is one of those things you'd pay to see! A politician who, though obviously understanding the goodwill and political capital he's collecting, also understands that people appreciate you doing something tangible - even when everyone knows it's not enough, they know you care.

Someone said that during a devastating hurricane in New Orleans, President Lyndon Johnson went to the Crescent City and going through the streets in the dark, with a flashlight, shining on his face and said in a loud voice, 'This is your President, I want you to know I'm here to help!'.  Didn't make the effect of the hurricane go away - that would come with assistance later - but he gave tangible evidence that he cared and he was with them.

Maybe the story's apocryphal. But if that one is, this one isn't. Cory Booker's type of retail politics let's people know he's here to help.

What a concept!

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