Tuesday, October 2, 2012

In this Contentious Political Season, I Miss Molly Ivins

Guest post by ESSENTIAL Class of 2006 alum Elaine Acker.
I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth. -Molly Ivins
This political season would have been much more entertaining and thought-provoking if Ms. Molly Ivins were still among us to kick the proverbial anthill. No doubt, she would have dragged us kicking and screaming away from our tunnel-vision assumptions and shined a spotlight on the truth about this year’s issues and candidates.

And I would have appreciated that immensely, because this year - perhaps more than ever - we’re seeing extreme viewpoints, intolerance, and radical attack ads that make me want to mute the television and retire from Facebook until sometime well after Tuesday, November 6th.

It occurred to me today that the tone of this political season is almost the exact opposite of the things I value most from my experiences in Leadership Austin’s ESSENTIAL Class back in 2005-06. There, we learned that whatever our political views, we all had more in common than we first imagined. There, we learned that even the “privileged kids” battled personal demons and difficult childhoods. There, we learned to listen, understand, and work together.

That’s what I’m guessing everyone really wants: to be heard and understood.

Maybe - just maybe - we’ll discover common ground during the upcoming ENGAGE Breakfast Series. Maybe, when we gather at the Long Center, we’ll all come with an open mind. We’ll listen to the facts, and carefully consider each other's points of view. We’ll keep in mind that even when we have differing opinions about how to tackle any given issue – from healthcare, to education, to support for our veterans - the bottom line is that in our hearts, we all want what’s best for our community, our state, and our nation.

The ENGAGE series kicks off with a political bang on October 10. Not only will the featured speakers dive into the hottest political debates of the season, they’ll look at exactly what the national policies mean for life here in Austin.

These ENGAGE speakers are awesome, and I value their opinions. But still, I’d give anything if Molly Ivins were here to lighten the moment. I could use a laugh.

G. Elaine Acker is CEO of RealSparx, a marketing consulting firm that works with small businesses and nonprofits to create marketing solutions that work in the real world.

All opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual writers and do not represent the views of Leadership Austin.

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