Friday, September 17, 2021
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A Breakfast Tale

I developed a little personal maxim during my years of active duty: never pass up the opportunity for training. It doesn’t matter what the subject matter is. The driving principle is that no knowledge is ever wasted, that what you’ve learned cumulatively makes up who you are. So I learned to listen and learn stuff, even seemingly useless stuff, because you never know when it might come in handy.

The same maxim applies to people. Get to know them, no matter who they are. Each one of them knows something you don’t. Find it and learn it. File it away for a rainy day. If at all possible (and sometimes it just isn’t possible–some folks can’t be salvaged) make a friend, or at least a neutral acquaintance. Once again, you never know.

My poor gracious and lovely bride is constantly amazed by the number of people who know me; notice I didn’t say, ‘the number of people I know’. My personal odometer has run up a lot of miles over the years, and the memory banks aren’t all they used to be. So sometimes I forget names, but seldom faces. Nearly wherever we go, someone comes up to me and starts a conversation, someone I knew years ago. I’ve kind of perfected the technique of introducing her even if I’ve forgotten the other person’s name, but this happens all the time. She’s forever telling her family “Mark knows everybody!”.

Okay, so why the ramble (and thanks for your persistence in reading this far!)? Because this all factors into electing constitutional conservatives to public office. How?

Because all politics is local, and all local politics is people and places. The more people you can connect with, and the better you know their local environment, the more success you’ll have in persuading them to our side.

All of this was triggered last Saturday at our county GOP breakfast get-together. We were gathered in a little town, ‘way south in our district. The locals were chest-bursting proud to be hosting us, introducing all their town dignitaries and regaling us with a tsunami of Hopedale trivia.

As I sat there munching my pancakes (sorry Mr. Obama, no waffles for us, we got simple pancakes) at first only hearing, not really listening to, the biography of this burg, my nasty brain asked itself, why should I care? Then it hit me. I know why these speakers are pouring out all these obscure facts! To help me better know the town and it’s people. Our people! What a stunner! I began to record the whole presentation on the hard drive between my ears. You never know…

So, at some point in the future, should I ever need to talk to anyone from that town or area, I know some things. I know who’s mayor. I know their plans to expand their medical center. I know who poured the concrete for the gym floor where I ate breakfast. I even know they’re proud to have originated the whole Vacation Bible School movement. I know stuff.

And knowing that stuff can make me more effective in persuading folks to my side. Like which candidate to support. To GOTV for.

Never pass up the opportunity for training. And please pass the syrup.

6 COMMENTS

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6 COMMENTS

    • No, thank you CW for your ceaseless prodding and encouragement! You’re my hero!

      Since you succeeded in getting my bottom off the couch and into the Real Game of politics, you’ve shown anyone can become a player! As in: if I can do it, anybody can!

      Keep beating that drum! Cheers!

  1. To fill in some details…. Hopedale is a SMALL town, of about 800 residents, mostly middle class and agricultural related workers. They aren’t rich. They just opened a private Christian school (in the building that their local school district decided to abandon) and are planning a $25Million upgrade of their hospital! These are people who are doers. They see problems and they don’t wait for the government to solve them, they FIX them.

    There are lessons we can all learn from Hopedale.

    By the way, Mark’s not joking about the very first vacation bible school being held in Hopedale. If you’ve ever sent your children or grandchildren to a vacation bible school, you can thank the 800 people of Hopedale for coming up with the idea.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacation_Bible_School

    And while I never did manage to get my cup of coffee Saturday, it was one of the most enjoyable breakfasts I’ve had in a while.

    • It *was* fun Brian (we sat together)! Those folks are go-getters! When their little school district ‘consolidated’ them out of their local school, they scooped up the vacant building and opened a Christian academy in it, and it’s taking off! That and a huge hospital expansion, raising funds on their own, boot-strapping all the way. Inspirational & informative!

      Sorry about the coffee…

  2. Well said, Mr. Riggio! Beautifully written piece that brings the message home. I sat next to a fairly young construction worker at one of our Saturday morning breakfasts. It was my first time meeting him. He spends a lot of time doing just what you said. As issues were discussed at our meeting, this gentleman would quietly comment and was eager to expound as I asked him questions. (It was a good thing we were in the very back of the room, and we were very careful to be as quiet as possible so as to not to be disrespectful to the speakers or those at our table.) He related a lot of background details that I would otherwise have never known. He spends a lot of time with Brigitte Gabriel and with candidates and their supporters all over the state and was very knowledgeable of every topic discussed. Because of his widespread exposure to people and events, he was a font of information.

    • No, thank you CW for your ceaseless prodding and encouragement! You’re my hero!

      Since you succeeded in getting my bottom off the couch and into the Real Game of politics, you’ve shown anyone can become a player! As in: if I can do it, anybody can!

      Keep beating that drum! Cheers!

  1. To fill in some details…. Hopedale is a SMALL town, of about 800 residents, mostly middle class and agricultural related workers. They aren’t rich. They just opened a private Christian school (in the building that their local school district decided to abandon) and are planning a $25Million upgrade of their hospital! These are people who are doers. They see problems and they don’t wait for the government to solve them, they FIX them.

    There are lessons we can all learn from Hopedale.

    By the way, Mark’s not joking about the very first vacation bible school being held in Hopedale. If you’ve ever sent your children or grandchildren to a vacation bible school, you can thank the 800 people of Hopedale for coming up with the idea.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacation_Bible_School

    And while I never did manage to get my cup of coffee Saturday, it was one of the most enjoyable breakfasts I’ve had in a while.

    • It *was* fun Brian (we sat together)! Those folks are go-getters! When their little school district ‘consolidated’ them out of their local school, they scooped up the vacant building and opened a Christian academy in it, and it’s taking off! That and a huge hospital expansion, raising funds on their own, boot-strapping all the way. Inspirational & informative!

      Sorry about the coffee…

  2. Well said, Mr. Riggio! Beautifully written piece that brings the message home. I sat next to a fairly young construction worker at one of our Saturday morning breakfasts. It was my first time meeting him. He spends a lot of time doing just what you said. As issues were discussed at our meeting, this gentleman would quietly comment and was eager to expound as I asked him questions. (It was a good thing we were in the very back of the room, and we were very careful to be as quiet as possible so as to not to be disrespectful to the speakers or those at our table.) He related a lot of background details that I would otherwise have never known. He spends a lot of time with Brigitte Gabriel and with candidates and their supporters all over the state and was very knowledgeable of every topic discussed. Because of his widespread exposure to people and events, he was a font of information.

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