Friday, September 23, 2005

Making Change: Election '05

The invitation was last minute.

"MaryBeth, we would like to invite you to attend a discussion this evening with the mayoral candidates at the Key Club, and could you bring several students?"

Sure. I hustled around to recruit a few interested upperclassmen. Lots of the kids said they would like to go, but most of them had jobs after school. 5:00-8:00 PM are the prime working hours for high school students. I got four "maybe's".
I sat close to the door in the club meeting room to keep watch. None of my kids showed up. Too bad.
A few of the students had expressed an interest in politics. It would have been a good experience for them.

Listening to the candidates answer questions about personal thoughts and feelings, as opposed to promoting or defending their stand on the issues, presented a very different view of the personalities running for mayor. I found myself sizing them up in the same way that I look at a class full of new students.

Seated in front of me were seven leaders, seven different dispositions, seven different attitudes, seven different competencies, and seven different personal styles. While some came across as friendly and engaging, others appeared aloof, one was even angry and combative. It was easy to see who was self-absorbed, who had creative vision, who truly listened to what others were saying, who had tunnel vision, who was laid back, who was obsessive, and who needed their medication adjusted. It was interesting to see how they related with one another. Who smiled or exchanged words, and who ignored whom.

Missing from the group last night was Frank Jackson, a man I would have liked to have seen interact with this group and respond to these personal types of questions. Of all the candidates, he always came across as the most guarded in public. Seeing how he stands a decent chance of becoming my next boss, it would have been nice to be able to scrutinize him along with the others.

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