The Dismal Business

One of the weakest aspects of living in general is the fact that people with power can make bad decisions. The other weakest thing is how important personal relationships are. Of course both of these are fine if you’re on the decision-making end, but both create a situation that’s “less than ideal,” as NOLS instructor Craig Lenske would say.

Jeremy and Jackie with important people Last weekend I had a pretty exciting opportunity to be involved in real state-level politics. I was there with a group of unbelievably good people (more on them in another post soon) and the trip was fun and successful, but it was also full of reminders of the bullshit that pervades everything involving power. For the first time I can remember, I found myself talking people’s ears off without being engaged myself. I wasn’t listening… I wasn’t even there. Of course, even in politics that’s not the goal – you should be able to talk people’s ears off and listen to them. But it’s common to get lost doing only the first. And then of course there’s the typical business issues — this funder wants to hear this; that important person was on the arm of who?

Garrett and I Working Making tough choices is easy when talking theoretically, but I honestly think I could deal with making tough policy decisions if I were ever asked to, even knowing how screwed over I could leave some people. But the personal decisions, like letting an agenda dictate how I interact with people, bother me.

On the bright side, I’m in a great position to do what I want. In some places I’d be intimidated into not doing anything substantial for fear of stepping on the wrong toes. For now, as long as I get the big things right (integrity and all that), I have very little to lose. If I end up being Governor of Oregon that’s just peachy, but if I don’t get that opportunity, even if it’s for a bullshit reason, I won’t be too upset.

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