published Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Roberts: We must manage change


by Dalton Roberts

When you are at the bottom of the trough of a wave, always remember that the next wave will come under you and lift you up again. Life never stays static. It is forever moving and changing.

This is true in our personal lives. Nobody stays down all the time. Nobody stays up all the time. One wave is slamming you down while another is lifting you up.

It is true in politics. Sometimes I think we select our leaders out of curiosity, just to see what they will do. Then we slam them down when we discover they are imperfect. Then we get all excited about someone quite different for a while, just to experience a new kind of endorphins. Very few of us have a well-døeveloped political philosophy to guide our choices. Oh, we say we do, but when we look at the ups and downs of our national flow, we see no consistent philosophy there. Just one binge after another.

How do we go from a Bush to an Obama if there is any semblance of a consistent political philosophy? I am telling you, curiosity and a desire for some kind of change are at work.

It’s all a search for magic. We keep hoping someone will pull some magic solutions out of the hat. When they don’t, we boo them off the stage while another set of would-be magicians is polling to see what is on our minds. As usual, nothing great is on our minds. Just frustrations and fears. So they relabel their magic potion bottles according to their polls, and here we go again.

If a generation is roughly 21 years, each generation has something unique about it. Maybe a new generation wants free health care for all. They have seen so many people die unnecessarily, and they want the problems corrected. Then as the correct “cure” is debated, they grow weary of the debate and the wait. Such a simple dream becomes a severe political hassle. Nobody said it would be this hard and complicated. They throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Republicans and Democrats are forever on a seesaw of popularity. In 1978, we elected eight democrats and one Republican to the Hamilton County Commission. Now there are more Republicans than Democrats. Part of the Democrat decline was redistricting. Part of it was the Republicans got smarter. They saw the advantage of keeping your philosophy in the news and started a weekly luncheon group. Speakers there keep them in the news in a positive way for several days a month. But the main reason was their positions at the national level seem to be more popular in this part of the country.

It’s been going that way since the original civil-rights bill passed (remember the Dixiecrats?). Republicans used those changes to their advantage.

Now some elements of change are working against them. Democrat-leaning groups, such as the Latin vote, are growing.

Many things that determine which party ascends are beyond local control, but two are not: organization and smart thinking. Organizing at the precinct level is making a comeback. And surely the Democrats will come to see that they must find a way to showcase their talent other than the annual Kefauver Dinner.

Change is always on the way, and those who manage change well will prosper.

E-mail Dalton Roberts at DownhomeP@aol.com.

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