Sunday, November 26, 2006

Life After the Elections

I enjoyed the experience of running for an elective office; I did as well as a one-person campaign can do. It was important to do it this way -- to develop the prototype that could be replicated at some future time and purpose.

My feeling was that I could be the best candidate I could be -- but I wasn’t going to coerce, deceive, manipulate anybody else into believing so. That’s never been my style. On that score, was how I actually judged my success -- whether I wrote the best flyer I could, whether I spoke the best five, three or one-minute presentation I could, whether I had a positive interaction with those I came into contact with. What they then decide to do with their vote, was a matter I left entirely up to them.

And for that, I feel very, very good -- validated that I did it in that way. One can win many different ways in life, and one can lose many different ways in life. I defined what was a “win” to me -- as communicating to people with that regard, because that is what disturbed me most about politics -- especially losing without grace and dignity, of which the theme of my campaign was the damage Al Gore had done in undermining that regard for public figures.

I think he cared too much for winning -- at any cost, even if he had to drag down the entire electoral process with him. He, more than anybody else, should have known better -- than to undermine the credibility of all government -- because an election outcome was not to his liking. If nothing else, political leaders, should be good public examples -- if they do nothing else. If they go “OJ” on us, there is no depths which society cannot plumb.

People compete reflexively whether they are competitive or not -- lacking the insight to see themselves as everybody else does. What the Lingle contest did was blow everybody out of the water as far as that kind of campaign can be run. Probably nobody will run that kind of campaign again -- off the charts. But somebody had to do it -- to discourage everybody else from thinking they can do it better.

So now people have to do it differently -- just like when the novel or short story is perfected; the other great writers have to discover another genre if they want to excel. Somebody else has already maxed out the existing standard -- and those serious about being top performers in their field of expertise, have to discover another.

Fortunately, I’ve never seen myself as an organization man, of which the politician is its ultimate manifestation. I’ve never seen the need to hold an office to speak as though one with authority. That’s probably a severe handicap in politics.

Winning other people’s approval is not a highly cultivated skill in my universe; what I generally try to find are those few who do appreciate what I do and say -- rather than doing and saying what they approve of. In this way, I’m more like an artist than a politician. That not everybody likes me, hasn’t been a great cause of concern for me throughout my life. It was just nice for me to know those who did and those who didn’t -- and that is a truth worth knowing -- regardless of the outcome. That’s how life and the truth is discovered.

3 Comments:

At November 28, 2006 9:24 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Despite thinking they can be another Tokyo or New York City by just buying an expensive rail system, Honolulu is really a small town, with a small town mentality. If it wasn’t for Waikiki and tourism, Honolulu would be Hilo. Which is not bad, unless one’s aspirations when one grows up, is to be London or Tokyo. Usually that kind of overriding inferiority complex is outgrown, and one can accept the reality that the goal of every person is not to be the President of the United States (Governor of Hawaii), or one is a total failure. And so the various former Vice-Presidents and the countless editors across the country, feel that the only way they are going to be competitive in life is to do their bit to bring down the President -- for they don’t know what reason but feel that they have to instinctively compete, as the categorical imperative they were indoctrinated with all their lives -- and no one has told them any better.

When I used to hang around “successful” people, I was always amazed at how many of them felt they were "failures" in life because they were brought up to think they had to be the President, and quite obviously, were not. This envy thing is probably the great curse of most affluent societies -- in which people are willing to settle for not being the President, if they can be the Richest Man on Earth. So people have these delusions that are quite apart or in contradiction to their actual life.

Usually one can tell that self-evidently -- whether one looks like their entire life is getting better, especially by how they look, and those trying to hide the reality of their experiences and perceptions. The denial is manifested and embodied in everything they are and do.

What always used to impress me about Hawaii’s politicians is how much they all came to look like bulldogs after a lifetime in politics -- and how they seemed to think that they had to yell in order to be heard. So they’d get up to a microphone and yell into it -- as though they were still students on college campuses with bullhorns. It never seemed to occur to them that they could just speak rationally to anyone -- trusting in their own best judgment to do what was right for themselves.

They had to be manipulated, convinced, persuaded, and finally, coerced -- and that’s how we did politics in Hawaii because all the rules of human civilization was nullified by vast distances. Nothing needed to make any sense. If a mango tasted good, poison ivy must be even better. If the H-3 freeway was a good idea, so must be the rail. If the education was a failure, more was needed.

So one has mixed feelings not being involved in all those discussions and the intense pressure to conform to the many unrealities the various self-interest groups would like to impose on everyone. I think the major function of government, or any useful service and purpose, is simply providing information of all the options and choices now available to people -- if they just knew about it. That seems to be the last thing -- the traditional mind thinks of, so used is it to thinking in terms only of material realities rather than conceptual ones. The conceptual mind doesn’t regard one thing apart from every other, in isolation -- but determines the relationship to everything else, as the real key to functionality.

 
At November 28, 2006 9:49 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

I think the greatest "victims" of information overload, are precisely those who in the previous era were the information "brokers" of the media, schools and universities. They've become for all practical purposes redundant -- and resistive to moving on up to another level, insisting we all have to return to the glorious days of the Betamax.

It's particularly challenging if one doesn't have the skill set to question credibility on its own merits but is totally dependent on the information (opinion) provided by another, supposedly a disinterested "professional." If we should have learned one thing over the past several decades, it's that the professional can confuse their own self-interests with the greater good.

That's how schools and universities become vested in the problem of perpetuating ignorance and misinformation -- rather than the truth that is a challenge to that authority. Schools and universities are even more tyrannical than they used to be -- but it's called political correctness, and conformity to what protects the status quo.

Change is therefore unlikely to come from within -- just as the Internet supplanted all the traditional chains of information, control and command -- not as a reform movement within the media, schools and universities.

When one goes to these demonstrations in support of the rail project and those holding up the signs claiming they will ride it are the construction workers, one has to wonder how stupid they think the rest of us are.

 
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