November 28, 2011

Are You a Political Animal?

by Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor

Having worked in government in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s in the Bill Clinton Gubernatorial Administration I have a pretty good grasp of the everyday workings of politics. I’m not referring to the nuts and bolts of working government such as administrative duties, parliamentary procedure or committees. I am speaking of the glad handing, back slapping and ego boosting that goes on so people can get what they desire for themselves or their constituents.

I soon learned what the term friend meant. Although used frequently it apparently had a different meaning than what I had known the term to mean. In the political realm a friend was not someone you knew well and had over for chicken dinner on Sunday. A friend was someone with a common interest. Although that interest may be limited it was definitely a shared interest. There was something beneficial to each party to be known as a friend to each other. The friendship may involve only one concern but that one concern was enough. I suppose friend is a more palatable term than alliance.

Over the years I came to understand that what we on the outside call politics, and hold in such a negative light is actually relationships. These relationships may be built over many years but could dissolve at a moment’s notice. An example of this is a political associate and financial supporter of Bill Clinton’s was quick to leave Clinton’s party after Clinton’s failed re-election bid for Governor. The former Clinton supporter showed up the following January as the new republican governor’s liaison to the Arkansas Senate. Like so many of us Clinton’s former supporter felt Clinton had no political future and had moved on. No one imagined Clinton would return to win a 2nd term as Governor and eventually be elected as President.

In the writing and marketing of our works relationships are necessary. Relationships with other writers, agents and publishers should be cultivated and nurtured. We should not think of these relationships as a negative thing but a necessary thing which benefits both parties. Unlike politics our relationships should continue. There is seldom a reason to disconnect. There is seldom a reason to believe there is no future and move on.

If you have yet to begin to build such relationships please start today. If you already have such relationships nurture them and watch them grow. Who knows what a lasting relationship can bring. You don’t have to be a political animal but it may help.

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