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DAVIS: Change is like everything else, it's never expected.

August 6, 2012

The world is full of cliches that neatly sum up a solution or explanation for nearly every situation. "Easy come, easy go" and "No good deed goes unpunished" are among some of the more widely known.
Another is "The only constant is change." This jewel is attributed to Heraclitus, a greek philosopher who died in 475 BC. Actually, his original statement was "Nothing endures but change." A comparison of the two statements proves his point.
The problem is that neither life nor anything else is not as simple as a few words strung together.
Being the humans that we are, we hope against all hope and with tunnel-visioned conviction hold fast to the idea that all things settle into comfortable, predictable patterns.
For example, we are born, we go to school, get a good education, find the one person we are meant to marry, climb the corporate ladder, have two children, live in a fine house, retire in good health, die with our family around us and leave the world a little better than we found it. While this is a fine pattern, the problem lies in perspective. Those at the beginning of the timeline believe wholeheartedly that the pattern will be theirs, while those at the more "experienced" end see the the reality of change pushing their own patterns off track back through time. I believe the view from the elder end of the continuum is what creates "wisdom."
One arena in which change is constantly professed is that of the political. Candidates profess to be the "Change" candidate and vow to have the ability, support and tenacity to "fight" for the change they feel the rest of us want. Whether we want the change they promise or even believe it to be possible isn't important. To those in the political bubble, it's only important to say it because they honestly think we are buying it.
And why shouldn't they believe it. The electorate has year after year taken the bait - hook, line and sinker. Focus groups and slick marketing campaigns are the tools by which we are convinced. These are the same tools that businesses use to compel us to purchase one particular bar of soap over another, one particular beer over another, or one particular brand of toilet paper because it doesn't leave lint behind.
From there, we choose sides. We pick one party over another. Back our chosen party's candidate over all other opponents. As so forth and so on, until it all plays out on election night when everyone already knows who the winner is because we've been told for months and the media projects a winner three seconds after the polls close.
Is this a jaded point-of-view? Perhaps. Maybe not. But one thing is for certain, change is coming.
What those in the political bubble fail to see is a country filled with people who do not profess affiliation to one party or another. And who could blame them. From national politics to the local level, the two party system along with the injection of the lesser known groups, spend the majority of their time pointing fingers at the other and parsing words, seeking that tactical advantage to be put before focus groups to see if it works.
What they fail to understand is the power of simplicity, straight-forward talk and cooperation. Those that do understand it make sure to let others know through the use of commercials, social media and a constant barrage of information. By doing so, they miss the original point. It becomes about the candidate, not the electorate. This is the fatal flaw.
The average voter should not be underestimated. They tend to vote for a candidate, not a party. They don't succumb to pressure applied political insiders or self-proclaimed "bosses."
What they want is someone who talks straight and does the right thing. Plain and simple. No where in that equation is the need to be a Republican, Democrat, Tea Party or other affiliation required. The luster and power of a party is gone. Look at the mess and bickering that goes on between and among them. The only problem is that they control the machine. But that is changing too.
Political change is in the air in Saline County as well. Three mayors were the object of efforts to recall them from office this year. Two of the three, Bauxite Mayor Johnny McMahan and Alexander Mayor Paul Mitchell, will have their fate decided by the voters in the November general election. The third, Bryant Mayor Jill Dabbs, does not appear to be facing a vote. Bryant Alderman Adrian Henley, who initiated the recall effort of Dabbs, says that "things are better now and it's been put on the back burner."
I'm sure none of the three anticipated the first 18 months of their tenures to have turned out the way it did. Change was not expected.
I say all this as a generalization. There are always exceptions to the rule. They are the easiest to find. They are the ones who aren't trying to draw attention to themselves for what they have done or what they plan to do. I think the cliche' "Actions speak louder than words" best describes it.
Lastly, a saying attributed to Albert Einstein most accurately describes what I see to be the mood of the average citizen in the United States these days.
"He who joyfully marches in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice."

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