In seven months, I’ll become an empty-nester. I’ve worked to raise three wonderful sons whose departure (the first two have already gone, the youngest is getting ready) marks the most profound sense of pride and sadness I can imagine. Like many of you who have gone through this experience, I wonder:
- Is the world/democracy that my sons are headed into, better or worse than the world/democracy I headed into when my parents became empty-nesters?
- Have I helped to provide my sons with the skill sets necessary to succeed?
- Have I been able to convey to my sons, the critical importance of always being active in public policy? (whether they make it their profession or not, as an American citizen … we are all advocates-always).
- Will they visit for the holidays and will they ever stop asking for money?
I thought about it over this past holiday and I was able to answer the first two questions (the other questions will have to be answered at another time). As long as this nation continues to honor its original commitment as a nation “of the people,” my sons will be fine.
As long as this nation continues a commitment to being a nation of “ideas,” my sons will be fine. As long as this nation continues to provide an avenue whereby “the people” have a “voice” in the decisions of the nation, my sons will be fine.
Sounds simple, but nothing about governing a nation is simple.
I also spent time over the holiday looking into why some aspects of public policy (at the local, state, and federal levels) have failed and succeeded. What I found was not stunning, and could really be viewed as commonsense.
In a nation where “the people” should be the main ingredient for success, a policy succeeded as long as the purest form of a democracy (as intended by our forefathers) was respected.
To continue the discussion about involvement in government relations , go to our new Plumbing Talk forum.
A policy failed when the purest form of democracy (as intended by our forefathers) was denied. So that we are on the same page … we live with countless legislative measures and regulations that are not the direct result of the purest form of a democracy.
But what I also found to be true was that public policy only succeeded when “the people” exercised their responsibility as American citizens. A policy only succeeded when “the people” were active and made their voice heard — instead of waiting to be asked what they thought.
The greatest advocacy organizations all have one dynamic in common — they are all proactive. They are well structured and go to Capitol Hill to demand that their voice be heard.
Yes, we elect leaders to represent us. However, do you really believe that a majority of Members of Congress understand your business, your industry? It is up to you to tell them how what they do impacts you, your family, your business, and your industry.
Washington, D.C. — Capitol Hill is the absolute fulfillment of a vision created more than two hundred years ago, the vision and commitment of which, created the greatest nation on earth. A vision where the “people” are the main ingredient to greatness. A vision that has led men and women to give their lives to ensure its success.
This May you have the opportunity to walk the halls of Congress…to enter into the heart-beat of the most powerful nation on earth. And by the way, you’ve been blessed to live in a nation where you can do this.
The PHCC Legislative Conference, May 21-22, 2014, is a ticket to experience the vision of our nation, to practice the wisdom of a democracy, and help to advance your industry.
The political pendulum will always swing back and forth. There will always be political factions popping-up-then fading away. There will always be issues that will take the focus of the nation in all sorts of different directions then evaporate. However, the “people” never goes away.
As Ma Joad said at the end of the American classic, “The Grapes of Wrath,” “…but we keep a'comin'. We're the people that live. They can't wipe us out; they can't lick us. We'll go on forever…'cause we're the people.”Mark R. Riso is director of government relations for the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors – National Association, he can be reached at [email protected].