Learning From Recent History

Some times you have to take your lumps and regroup.

Criticism usually comes from two different sources: the ones that are going to criticize you regardless of what you do and the ones that care enough to offer some tough love on what they really care about. If folks are disappointed and angry, find out why they feel this way.

Getting past the criticism can also go two ways: moving past it without taking it under advisement and being angry about it or learning from it.

There is quite a bit of finger pointing right now (and rightfully so) about how Mark Clayton got so many votes in urban areas. Much of the blame has been pointed to the TNDP while I’ve read other accounts that voters didn’t educate themselves very well about that particular candidate’s failings.

The blame game is happening and, quite frankly, it keeps people standing still.

I like to think I pay attention to the state’s political climate. I do this each morning for people that want to sign up for it. and although much of the criticism I’ve seen is of value, I also believe that it goes back to deeper issues. (I wrote-in Jacob Maurer for Senate if you were wondering.)

The national news screamed about Scott DesJarlais but, and I’m asking sincerely, did that information make it to smaller newspaper and radio stations in his district which is some sage advice that JR Lind gave. The Times Free Press has done an excellent job getting his indiscretions out, mind you, but that’s a weird funky district and I just wonder if it is getting to each rural town.

Yet some passionate writers around the state have been trying to sound the horn for several years that the message wasn’t fluid and it was getting drowned out when it came to educating folks on candidates and policies that impact everyone in this state. A post I wrote four years ago which I revisited this morning still has a lot of things in it still unresolved. And Terry Heaton laid out a wonderful way to communicate as well four years ago where several of us also opined on ideas to help get out the word. It is worth the time and energy, as Heaton wrote years ago, to invest in ambassadors, for lack of a better word. (And the language in that post also will show you how web terminology has evolved.)

And what local and state news competes with is bundled news about things like Twinkies (where folks miss the message that banking regulations were at fault and not much else. Don’t worry campers, they aren’t going anywhere because another company will save them. This is a weapon of mass distraction. The losers in this battle where workers because the company knew they were going bankrupt and took huge salaries, but that is another story for another day.)

This is a time of great opportunity to start making the necessary changes needed in dealing with a new media market. Just think of all those Tennesseans on Facebook or Twitter that will be available to share a message with their friends yet it needs to be organized. National news is sexy and readily available, local news not so much. One thing that made a difference this year, once again, was social media.

In politics there is always another exit down the road and 2014 has some things on the ballot that will make your want to set your hair on fire. There is value in rebuilding leadership and educating ourselves on what our state is doing. Hopefully we won’t let history repeat itself.