Monday, August 21, 2006

District 21/22/23 Newsletter (Diamond Head to Kakaako, Moiliili to Pawaa)

It's time to get focused on the elections here in Hawaii -- instead of all the issues one can't do much about nationally and internationally -- as an escape from the only things that do matter, and one can do something about.

Although I'm a candidate for the first time (Representative, District 21), I've had a close and personal look at many campaigns before, and have wondered whether much of what is done, is actually necessary, while many things that seem to be necessary to do, are ignored and dismissed as things one needn't do, or is "too busy" to do.

I think the number one thing that needs to be done is to make a good impression -- and not many bad ones. That may even mean doing less -- rather than doing more, increasingly badly. Politics is a lot like sports: it doesn't matter how much you do. What matters is how much you do well, and then when one does that, he only does that, and cuts out all the wasted and superfluous undermining that effort -- conserving one's energy and resources for the proper moments that he can't be "too busy" to recognize.

Some people are insistent that the key to campaign victory is the number of people involved in one's campaign, the money raised, or amount of brute hard work that one puts into it. The obvious is that one actually has to make contact with the actual voter -- as the only sure validation that one has done what he hopes to do.

Advertising media may suggest that their 100,000+ "readers" might actually see your classified ad under "Vote for Me." One might sign-wave at a corner with a lot of traffic but with very few actual voters looking for the "lucky" sign upon which to determine their most critical decisions in life.

Woody Allen is credited with the saying that, "90% of success is just showing up," because in many cases, the other person won't -- and if you do, you win by default. Which is pretty much the story of how I came to be the candidate for representative in the district of Waikiki-Kapahulu.

For one reason or another, everybody else dropped out or did not show up, despite countless invitations and entreaties to do so. They all were "too busy," or had more important things to do -- which creates an opportunity if one is just the right person, at the right place, at the right time -- rather than trying to make something happen, when all the signs do not augur well for those prospects. Then, all the hard work in the world, is not going to make something happen, that is not propitious to do so. So the chief requirement is one's ability to pay attention undistracted -- and recognize those moments when they present themselves, to be “available and willing,” at the right moment.

I was not willing to sign up for countless hours of hard work -- but agreed to do what was required to get my name on the ballot so the Democrat incumbent did not get a free ride. In collecting the required signatures for the filing, I learned for the first time that people were supportive of having a choice. And then when I reviewed the results of the last concurrent gubernatorial election results, realized that a Republican victory in this district was more than plausible -- despite the 2004 results for the election of the representative’s seat.

District 21 (Waikiki-Kapahulu), has two distinct demographics: the Waikiki precincts (high rises) is a fairly reliable Republican stronghold -- which Governor Lingle may conceivably win by over 66%-?, which carries over somewhat to the representative’s race. The weakness for the Republican candidate, has been the walkable neighborhoods (precincts) immediately around me -- who are most influenced by personal contact and shared history of experiences growing up and living in Kapahulu -- which I can tap into, while the Democrat incumbent cannot, having never lived in this neighborhood.

So I should have a “native” advantage in this respect -- which is obvious to those looking for that connection. Therefore, the limit to my success is simply my actually having a personal, authentic encounter to convince them I would be the best “representative” of the people of this district. That is just a fact -- and not a campaign ploy.

And so in the flyer I hand to them, and in the public access appearances I make regarding the elections, I make my case that I’m uniquely capable of articulating these insights to the larger audience. Those are the essentials of a successful campaign -- that one has to have a candidate capable of inspiring that confidence in those abilities, that place one at the leadership of these discussions, and keep the people well-informed about what is going on -- without the bureaucratic jargon masking what is going on. That’s what every citizen has a right to ask -- and is entitled to receive from their representative.

Otherwise, we have the familiar present apathy, indifference, and despair that marks political and civic participation all over the state. It doesn’t have to be that way. Government can be what people want it to be -- and not just what government experts tell them is good for them because they know better -- as if they really knew, and so their job is to make us think so too.

The reversal of this trend of alienation from government (governance), has always been a high priority with me, and has been my major reason for showing up in these forums -- because I think the underlying communications are the beginning of every successful undertaking.

Our monthly meetings, the fourth Wednesday of each month (Aug. 23, 6pm, Hawaii Republican Party Headquarters), is one of the many launching pads for who knows how far one might go in this field of participation and interest. Showing up is 90% of success.