Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Ouch! For Real (A)


John, John, John.

Do you remember Deirdre?

Well, she came up to me the other day, all a-fluster. It would seem that you sent her an e-mail asking her for money.

Now, in case you don't immediately recall, Deidre is my friend from work, whom I persuaded to pop across the green - to your National Campaign HQ - to ask for help.

Her mother has breast cancer, and there's all sorts of problems with benefits. Not an anecdote - a real-life person, having to make that real-life choice between paying the rent or buying medicals.

"So why," Deirdre cried, "why is John asking me for money? He lives in a big mansion. I live in a small apartment. I need to help my mom. I can't help John as well. Doesn't he understand that...?"

I tried to calm her down. Told her that it's the quid pro quo. You help her. She goes on the mailing list. But with that, Deirdre just got a flinty look in her eye.

She looked at me with ice in them eyes, and she said: "No, Geoff, no. He's supposed to be different. He told us he was going to be different."

You lost a vote, John. You lost a vote because a good, honest working lady saw the disconnect between what you say you are doing and what you are actually doing.

Deirdre will not vote for you now because she can not trust you to keep your promises. She now takes the view that you're just another calculating lawyer.

Deirdre lives over in Siler City. You know it well. She'd heard all the stories from her friends that you only took cases that you could win. But she wouldn't listen.

You helped her. And she thought the world of you because she thought you didn't care whether or not she could do anything for you. Until she got the e-mail asking for money.

Deirdre no longer believes that you are a breath of fresh air. That you mean it when you say you won't use the old political ways. You won't hide. You won't horse-trade. You'll be open and honest. Show us all the 'real' you.

Well, she thinks she's now seen the 'real' you. She now thinks everything you do and say is just a new take on the same old, same old. That you're no better or worse than other politicians. Just a little more slippery.

Of course. Deirdre's just one vote. Just one worker. Maybe she doesn't matter. But she matters to me.

And she ought to matter to you, John. If you're real. If you really have soul...

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