Here we go again! Smear campaigns against public officials accomplish little but to deter well-meaning people from entering public office. Read today’s front page, how many careless attempts to destroy reputations did you read? Smear campaigns will not bring new jobs to your city, will not make your city safer, clean or make the school your children attend a better place. Why is it that the politicians don’t understand that these smears don’t affect our lives concretely, we tend to dismiss smears as political nonsense that is meaningless and sophmoric. The uncomfortable truth is that filthy, dirty campaigns reflect more than arrogance and irresponsibility. All-in-all, dirty campaigns in your city have the unfortunate potential of spilling over and deterring good-faith commitments to public office. This does mean something. Simply put, when dreamers like you and me stay on the sidelines, we all lose. The way I see the world, public office offers a privileged perch from which to live the American dream- an opportunity to achieve great things for others just by showing up, listening, exercising common sense and being decisive. For me, this meant a commitment to my country, which is why I wore the the uniform of a U.S. Marine during Vietnam and for the last twenty years I served as D.E.A. Special Agent. As a younger man, I found that both professions offered an extreme education in your own ability to fail. Nothing I had ever done left me more exposed and vulnerable to failure. Regardless of how well intended, some days, I just got it wrong. I thank god almost everyday for the values instilled in me by my parents- hard work, honesty and discipline-largely managed to stick. The smell of blood is in the air in this political campaign season, so, to you public officials running for public office, armed with a healthy smear campaign, remember, public office is a job, not a career, do some good each day and don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t worry, dreamers like me will keep their distance. Perhaps not.
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