Good as Gold
- Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
- — Anonymous
- Make new friends, but keep the old,
- One is silver and the other is gold.
- — Girl Scout song
My Thanksgiving dinner was filled with talk of local
A group of ten friends joined me for turkey and
potluck. Fueled with good wine and good cheer, we talked late into the
night about our plans for 2005.
Some wanted to work on housing issues. Other wanted
to work on finance and bond reform. Others were interested in working on
We then drifted to a discussion of whom we could
count as our allies and how we can network with those friends.
But sometimes our allies decide on a different path.
Or they disagree with us and choose to work on the other side of an issue.
And sometimes our perceived enemies work next to us
for an issue that unites us. And we get the opportunity to learn from them
and create a new bridge and a new partnership.
In Donna Brazile’s book “Cooking with Grease,” she
tells story after story of how she would work on someone’s campaign to
defeat a frontrunner. And then when her candidate dropped out or another
election came along, she would work for the former enemy and find out that
they weren’t so bad, after all.
Donna Brazile worked as a field coordinator for Jesse
Jackson’s presidential run in 1988. When Jackson dropped out, she switched
to Dukakis’s campaign. Jackson felt betrayed — since he perceived Dukakis
as the enemy. And only a month prior to the November 1988 election did he
truly forgive Brazile (and Dukakis).
Then in 1992, she worked with Jackson again on
getting Clinton elected. From there, she worked with Jackson’s colleague
Eleanor Holmes Norton to win her race as Washington D.C.’s representative
Brazile eventually became Gore’s campaign manager for
his 2000 presidential run. She was not only the first woman to run a
presidential campaign. But she was also the first African American to run
a major presidential campaign.
Her book reminded me that the majority of people who
are involved in politics are there to make a difference in their
community. People who work on campaigns are actively trying to make their
community a better place.
Politics doesn’t create perfect solutions. There are
not any perfect laws. Even the most balanced ordinance will negatively
impact someone. Every tax bill negatively impacts the taxed — even if it
is helping educate our future leaders, build houses for the homeless, and
create jobs for the unemployed.
But you can’t let the perfect be an enemy of the
good. You can only try to make sure that the negative impact is minimal
and that in the end, the intended goal of the ordinance actually helps the
community that it is targeted to help.
And you have to keep trying to make a difference.
Even when there isn’t a perfect solution. Because there never is a perfect
solution in politics.