Campaign Lessons

November 2008

Like most adults here in the United States, I have been following the twists and turns of the Presidential campaign as it has intensified over the past few weeks.  Not wanting all of that time and attention to go to waste, I have been pondering what lessons I can take away once we get past the November 4th elections (which will be over, at least the voting, by the time you read this missive).

The role that communication plays in this process has been fascinating to watch.  The various media, from internet to television to radio to printed word, have surrounded us with images and information.  Observing how each candidate uses media is instructive, as they each attempt to communicate their message in ways that connect with their target audience.  What I am increasingly aware of is the need to use discernment in listening to those messages, and not let style trump substance.

Never do I recall such heightened emotions surrounding a Presidential race.  While I respect and applaud passion, I grow wary when emotions seem to play an out-sized role in decision-making.  Sifting fact from fiction can be a daunting task when reporters and pundits present flashy sound bites in lieu of an in-depth examination of issues.  Thus, I find myself digging for nuggets of truth, picking my way through websites and position papers, to better understand the candidates’ platforms. 

What I am learning is that I must be proactive and engaged in this process.  I try to listen with an open mind to friends who see things in a different way than I do.  I am examining my own values and beliefs and not relying on talking heads to tell me what to think. I treasure the privilege and responsibility of voting that comes with living in this country.  Like you, I am gleaning lessons from these fascinating times that will serve us in all areas of life.  If I can support you in weaving those insights into your work, please let me know.  Have a great month.

Sharon Keys Seal

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