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.