Campaign Chronicle, 7 Weeks to Election: No Promises

This week I had my first sit-down session with a group of citizens who wanted my take on issues important to them. I suspect I disappointed them a little; I’ll get to that in a moment.

First, I already have a few other such meetings on the calendar but I’m willing to add more. I’ll sit down with anyone who wants to discuss the issues. If there’s food involved, so much the better.

Second, I observed that optimistic scheduling doesn’t work with certain classes of people, among them serious politicians who tend to be a bit long-winded. In fact, I almost left when my scheduled session was delayed because the candidate before me was late arriving and continued into my time. (I had to be convinced to stay.) But once it got started the actual interview was fine, if too short to actually delve deeply into anything because I made it a point to wrap up as close to the end of my scheduled slot as possible. So if you really want me to explain my thinking on a subject, be sure to allot a good bit of time.

The ghost of Jacob Marley (Alec Guinness) visits Ebenezer Scrooge (Albert Finney). This has something to do with politics, trust me.

As I said, I suspect I left the folks in the room feeling disappointed that I had not agreed to champion their causes. They seemed to expect me to make a commitment to them, but I reiterated what I said when first started on this adventure: I am not making any promises to anyone about anything.

Why? Because I can’t break a promise that I haven’t made.

Think about the scene in A Christmas Carol in which the ghost of Jacob Marley intrudes on Scrooge’s quiet evening. What was Marley wearing? A great chain that represented his failure to care for the destitute and downtrodden, a chain he forged “link by link, and yard by yard.” Imagine if every living officeholder had to carry a chain forged of their broken campaign promises — perhaps formed “lie by lie, and pledge by pledge.” The halls of government at every level would ring with the sound of rattling chains.

Promises are cheap. Keeping them is hard.

I intend, if elected, to study every issue that comes up and listen to different viewpoints. I have stated my principle for staking out a position on proposals: since most proposals are quite clear about who they would help (or intend to help), I would like to consider who they would hurt, and how much, and then weigh whether the intended benefit is worth whatever cost is involved.

But I won’t make promises, because that way I can’t break any.


Election Day for the Cary Town Council race is October 6th. Help spread the word about my campaign! Share this post on social media or forward it specifically to anyone you know who lives in North Carolina, especially in the Research Triangle area or the Town of Cary. For additional updates and info, sign up for my newsletter using the form in the right sidebar or visit the election page on my website. Thanks!

Spending Disclosure: As of this date, my campaign has spent a total of $10. But I’m probably going to spend a few bucks later this week.

This blog post was “paid” for, at the cost of $0 and whatever time it took Gray to write and upload it, by The Gray Man: Service, Leadership, Creativity.

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