As We Are

I was in a waiting room this morning where I flipped open the latest issue of Scientific American magazine to a quote from Anais Nin:

“We don’t see things as they are, but as we are.”

It reminded me of a comment made to me recently about how my position on a community issue was contrary to the commenter. This person said to me,

“It’s just politics.”

To him, clearly it was. Not to me. To me it was (and is) about good government, leaders heeding those who elected them, keeping promises, following the rules because it’s the right thing to do, and common sense.

His comment reflects the gap between my position and his. Perhaps it also reflects his true motives, as well as my naïveté. Certainly it illustrates that he doesn’t understand what drives me; but I think I understand him a little better because of what he said.

To the extent that it is political on my part, that has been unintentional. However, if that’s what it takes to defeat those with political motivation to undermine the principles in which I believe, maybe I should be more intentionally political in my approach…as opposed to just being sensible and expecting to be able to enlighten him and those like him.

But, given the ability to achieve political victory, we must be all the more careful to make sure we are still “right.”

I saw a comment from another person last week who said that “naysayers” won the day on the issue in question. Another perception problem, I think, from an otherwise bright fellow who was vested in the outcome of the same issue by virtue of having been asked to help shepherd the issue to success. However, in my opinion he didn’t understand the underlying principles and how they had been violated to the great dissatisfaction of those who opposed the issue.

It is interesting how those who are the MOST political in approach, methods, and motivations (including this fellow) are also usually the quickest to cry, “Politics,” when they are thwarted.

Then in conversation this morning with another community leader about how the distinctly non-sexy term “transit-oriented development” has recently morphed to the more attractive “job-oriented development,” which largely means the same thing (higher-density, taller buildings). He explained,

“The language evolves to support the argument.”

If that isn’t a “political” tactic, I don’t know what is!


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