You’ve got to tell people what they want to hear without compromising who you are.
What I learned running for an elected position
Today more than ever, it seems that people get elected primarily by knowing what to say without necessarily knowing what to do. I hope we can get a little of both from Minneapolis Mayor-elect Betsy Hodges. Just to be sure, I’d like to share a story about the time I ran for political office during college.
I decided to run for student library privileges liaison because it seemed like a sinecure. With only one competitor and a single debate over lunch, I fancied myself a shoo-in. I remember formulating a plan for reciprocal library privileges with other colleges and borrowing a blue blazer from a frat brother. When the debate day came, I stepped up to the lectern and offered some sensible comments about my “platform.” As I sat back down, I noticed two people making out in the back of the lunchroom. I’ll never forget the next five minutes. A long-haired guy wearing boots, darkened glasses and a sweeping black cape ascended to the lectern and proceeded to rant for five minutes about the lack of LGBT representation on the student council and the searing injustice of apartheid in South Africa. I think the couple in the back ran down to kiss him.
It was then I learned that the trick to politics is being able to tell people what they want to hear without compromising who you are.
CHRIS BIRT, Minneapolis
BUS DRIVER FIRED
There’s another side to this story …
I’m not crazy about bus drivers leading kids in Christian prayer, because of its exclusionary nature. But there’s another side to the story of George Nathaniel (“Bus driver led students in prayer and lost his job,” Nov. 6). As my grandson’s bus driver, Nathaniel sought and gained my grandson’s mom’s approval of praying with him. A Christian pastor, the bus driver goes by the name “Apostle.” I came to call him “The Magician.”
Apostle and my grandson, both people of color, in a short time established an incredibly strong, mutually caring relationship, one that influenced my grandson beyond the bus ride. He had been having difficulty in school, but did a 180 shortly after Apostle became his driver. My grandson says there’s a connection.
I believe it, after watching him come home with a big grin day after day, due to wholesome banter with Apostle. They connected around things my grandson was interested in — basketball, for starters. During this time, my grandson gave me a hug before he got on the bus each day and greeted me enthusiastically at the end of the day. This had not always been the case. Somehow, Apostle made it “cool” to grade-schoolers to be respectful and cooperative.
I understand the bus company’s and school district’s action in firing him after a warning notice. But I’m sorry Apostle isn’t my grandson’s bus driver anymore.
RICH COWLES, Eagan
FRANKEN AND THE ACA
I distrust the motive behind new concern
For the past five years, Al Franken has been a rubber-stamp vote for Harry Reid and the Senate Democratic programs, including Obamacare. He provided the 60th vote that allowed this monstrosity of a law to pass. So why after five years in office is he suddenly concerned about the effect of Obamacare on Minnesotans (Hot Dish Politics blog)? Oh, I forgot: He’s up for re-election in 2014.
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