I have a close friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple years ago. We met when we worked together at a non-profit, where she was an event planner. Being an event planner sounds glamorous, but the hours were long and and her to-do list longer. She was a supremely effective event planner because She Got Shit Done. We clashed at times–“Online Offal, I don’t care how many people disagree with you that the word barbecue does not have a q in it, just finish writing the damn copy already!”–but we share the same sense of humor, and when you find another person like that you don’t let her go.
Anyway, my friend attacked her diagnosis and treatment like one of her events, and she’d email a small group of family and friends when she needed help. She was extremely precise in telling us what she needed and what she didn’t want. So we all Got Shit Done, and she’s doing great now.
It’s come time for me to talk about politics.
I vote in every election. It’s very sexy to vote for President but I’d argue it’s more important to vote in local elections, because these are the people who are more likely to directly affect your life in a meaningful way.
Every time I vote in an election, I try to choose people who will Get Shit Done. It’s my favorite characteristic of a good community/state/federal leader. I don’t need a candidate to snuggle my kids or shake my hand or be my friend. I already have people in my life who fulfill those roles. I need the candidate to be able to work with difficult people, compromise if need be, and offer solutions when hit with obstruction. Throwing up your hands and holding a press conference solely to point fingers at someone is not a very productive way to spend your time, in my opinion.
Over the past few years, there has been a spectacular failure of people at the local, state and federal levels to Get Shit Done. A lot of it has to do with the fact that people have been pigeonholed into being Conservative or Liberal and anyone who does not share their political philosophy–however nuanced or complex–is The Enemy.
I live in a state in which there has been no budget for eight months. The governor is a Democrat and the legislature is mostly Republican. No budget means that no money is going to community agencies and until emergency funding was provided on Dec. 31, no schools. This is all because people can’t get along, and they think that Making a Stand means they’re doing their jobs. People in my community literally don’t have jobs because the funding has been stalled.
I live in a state in which the Attorney General has lost her law license yet still manages to hold office. She will go on trial for perjury and for leaking information from a secret grand jury to a reporter in order to go after a rival. (There hasn’t been a week that’s gone by where I haven’t wondered if she does her job. She’s been up to a lot more shenanigans, but being an attorney general without having a law license takes the cake.)
I live in a community in which our school board president, after ousting the superintendent following a $66,000 investigation that revealed nothing, violated the state’s Sunshine Act when he and other members met secretly about that matter and when he encouraged other members of the board to deliberate secretly on a search firm contract to find a new superintendent. The interim superintendent costs $700/day and his first act was to send a letter to the community justifying his compensation–instead of merely putting his head down and Getting Shit Done.
(The school board president and interim superintendent have maintained the real crime is not violation of the Sunshine Act but the someone recording a private meeting and then leaking it to the press. By the way, under the same school board president, the school district drastically cut arts, music, physical education and library science two years ago because of the poor economy at the time.)
I live in a country in which the majority leader of the Senate refuses to meet, much less hold confirmation hearings and vote on a new Supreme Court Justice. You know, he basically refuses to do a key part of his job for the remainder of the term.
Look, I get it. There are parts to any job that suck; that’s why it’s called a job. You can complain loudly on talks shows or in op-eds or at press conferences that you have to do it, but you still do it. My friend didn’t like having cancer, but she couldn’t change anything about it. So she just bucked down and Got Shit Done.
I wish there were a lot more people like that.