Belle of the Hoosier Ball

Barack Obama is in my living room almost every 5 minutes.  You can't go anywhere in the state without running into one of the Clintons. What, pray tell, is going on?

For the first time in my 15 years in Indianapolis, we are a state in play for the Democratic presidential primary and are being accorded "most favorite state for the moment" status.

It is quite unnerving after being ignored for years like a wallflower at the annual spring dance, to suddenly find the hottest kids on campus looking your way.  Hey Hill, what's up?  Oh Obama!

And while I wouldn't trade having these candidates and Indiana citizens throughout the state learning from each other in person, the underlying reality is ultimately disappointing.  They want us because now they need us. Well we've been needing a more participative democracy for some time, but where were they then?  Previously we never even got to boogie in close proximity while doing the Hustle, let alone wrap our arms around them in a long, slow dance.

Sure, it's tempting to join the jocks or chat with the cheerleaders even when you know their interest is only because you have something they need.  But it turns relationships into mere transactions: let me bask in the glow of your status and I'll happily help you with your math homework.  Where will these candidates be when the Big Dance is over?  Will we ever again get to be the Belle of the Ball?

Call me silly, but I come from the old school of relationships: you develop them with others out of general interest over a period of time, not just to serve some on-demand temporary need you have.  That long-haul cultivation increases the likelihood that when a real need arises, your potential partner will be a willing supporter and resource.

But just use me? Well, you lose me.  Because you never had me in the first place.

1 comment:

Joan Eisenstodt said...

Oh Jeffrey .. to be needed at any time is not so bad. Yeah, building the relationships first is nice .. and in IN you at least have a few folks who want to build them with you all the time. Here in DC .. well, we too were 'needed' for the primary and now will be entirely forgetten until the next presidential election .. if then. Take heart .. it's pretty nice. And did I mention VOTE OBAMA!