Saturday, September 15, 2007

One Long Island Project: Part One

Another way to conceptualize the Long Island 3.0 series of proposals.

The hardest thing to do, I think, is to explain complex ideas in simple terms. It may be a skill I don't possess. I will continue to try however.

Some of you have asked me what the "agenda" is for all of this. Why are you writing this blog?

Well the reason I'm writing about Long Island is because I actually enjoy this sort of thing and also, being an individual whose relatives have only known Long Island as a home since they "arrived" here in the late 1880s through the early part of the last century, I have an affinity for and a desire to see Long Island stay the great place its been for my family and friends.

However, for Long Island to remain a great place it must change in a sustainable and dynamic manner. I think most Long Islanders see that. My hope is that I can contribute some piece of the puzzle that helps this come about.

Ah, but you are, or have been, political aren't you? You must be setting yourself up for another run!

Sorry. Been there, done that and did the best I knew how at the time (Oyster Bay 2000 [circa 1993]). I have great respect for everyone who puts themselves in the public eye and subjects themselves (and their family) to the "democratic process." Whether its a school board or President of the United States, it takes the "fire in the belly." I'm happy to help good people get elected ... it just isn't for me anymore.

I don't believe that what I wish to help accomplish on Long Island is best served through elective office. Elective officials are sometimes constrained and limited in what they can accomplish by the "parameters" of their office. If possible, I want to spend my time forging productive "links" and coalitions between disparate (and sometimes seemingly incompatible) organizations for the common good. I think Long Island 3.0 (or the"One Long Island Project") will be helpful in this regard. Sometimes those who seem to have all the power are themselves limited by authority and must be assisted as well in doing the public good ("Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown"). It has been my experience that most elected officials want to do the right thing and are elected officials primarily to do the public good and not for personal aggrandizement.

I am a firm believer in the process and believe everyone should be involved in getting good people elected. If you don't participate currently, you should in some manner. Going door to door is one of the best educational experiences a person can have. I know it was for me.

Among other things, it teaches you humility, teaches you what you don't know, forces you to see other points of view, shows you the value of compromise and cooperation, makes you work for your votes (we always appreciate something more when you work for it) and requires you to engage in a real and direct way, all the different types of folks you wish to represent. Most importantly it teaches you that elected office is a privilege, not a right.

I don't care what level of office you are seeking, if you are not going directly to the people (obviously as your physical abilities allow) and asking them for their vote, you are not being honest with yourself or the people you seek to represent. Citizens coming to see you is not the same as you going to see them. Obviously the larger the office the more difficult this becomes, but no matter what the office is it should be done at some point if for no other reason than to keep the flame of humility alive in all elected officials.

Even as I advocate for "virtual this" and "meta that" I remember the value of looking folks in the eye and asking for their vote. Hopefully what I propose is not taken as a replacement for this direct interaction but rather as a way to assist all Long Islanders in among other things, the process of dynamic self governance through informed decision-making.

OK. Time to get off the soapbox.

I hope I've answered some of your questions. As always keep 'em coming.

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