Sunday, April 22, 2007

I want to be in politics

In dramatic movies people always have that one aphorism that is only loosely related to the plot, but is always pivotal in the climax. You know… like in Batman Begins, right before Christian Bale goes ass-kicking he says to Katie Holmes, “It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.” Then he flies off in leaving nothing but the smell of bad-ass as a reminder. Well despite my best efforts, my parents have left me with an adage similar in the sense that I can’t get rid of it. I think they only said once, “[life is] all about how many people you help.” As much as I have wanted to reject that… it has always come back to in some way affect my major decisions (most of which are yet to be made). I chose industrial engineering, because I liked it and I’m good at it. However, I believe it’s not just about how much I can increase the company‘s bottom line, but in addition how much I can improve the working environment of my employees and how the facility can be a positive influence on the community. This mantra will make my job harder as I struggle to develop quantitative measurements of “soft” changes I recommend. How do you convert worker comfort into dollars? Oh sure, there are ways, but you always trade quality of measurement for cost of measurement; you are usually left with cheap, but statistically insignificant values, or the inverse. What’s probably going to be worse is convincing Mr. Million-Dolla that Junior Barely Over the Poverty Line and his wife Over Breeding deserve anything traded for a few points on his ratios. (oh yes... the poor are breeding or the breeding are poor).

“With great power, comes great responsibility.” The place I could really help the most people is as a moderately (or better) successful politician. I’d like to hold public office sometime, to try my hand at swaying the masses to accept what I believe to be right, knowing that the average Joe will have about one percent as much information as he needs to make the decision on his own.

I don’t think this will happen because I have played the game on a miniscule scale and didn’t like it. Sure, I won the elections I needed to in high school, but even then I didn’t enjoy being fake for two weeks. I can’t imagine months of acting on a regional or national stage. Perhaps I’ll shoot for an office I can just be appointed to. I can’t play the game because my views are not ready for public approval. I don’t even know that my views are that far removed from the average personal opinion (especially of my generation)… but we all know there’s very big difference between who people are underneath, and what they do to define themselves (it’s around 64 percentage points). My answers to seemingly simple questions would likely be too prolix for the average attention span, and the more a politician talks the more he/she is at the risk of being quoted out of context.

This being said, I don’t think I could win a major public office, but I could be an effective bull-moose candidate. And perhaps that’s a great way to help a lot of people.

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