Pub. 15 2024 Issue 1

President’s Message: Political Engagement Should Not Be Left to Others

Political Engagement Should Not Be Left to Others

We live in the most successful country in mankind’s history. That success is inextricably entwined with our democratic system of government. As citizens, we get to choose our leaders through elections. Elections are messy and rarely produce results with which any individual is completely pleased. However, the messy nature is what creates the environment for individuals and businesses to thrive. We live in a time when elections matter more than ever.

In school, we are taught that elections are decided by the majority. I am not certain that the statement is correct. In many cases, elections are decided by those who care the most. Political engagement can and should influence elections and the elected. I encourage you to make your own commitment to political engagement.

Political engagement can and should mean different things to different people. I suggest that the elements of political engagement are learning, supporting and sharing. Each element is vitally important to our system of government and critical to assisting elected officials in fulfilling their duties.

The first element is learning. Take time to understand what candidates stand for. Candidates are people. As people, they are usually complex. Seldom does a one-line sound bite capture their character, views and abilities. Knowing how a candidate thinks will help you evaluate whether — and to what extent — the candidate deserves your support.

The second element is supporting. If your investigation leads you to believe, on balance, that a candidate deserves your support, decide the support level you are willing to provide. Support can be as simple as voting. Beyond that, you can agree to give your time, money or influence to aid the candidate’s election prospects.

The third element is sharing. Before and after a candidate is successfully elected, he or she has a very difficult job. We expect our elected officials to understand our concerns. No single person can understand every important issue. As bankers, we can be an invaluable resource to our elected officials. We have critical perspectives on community needs, economic development, serving and protecting our customers, and enhancing opportunities for our fellow citizens. Never underestimate the value of your unique perspectives. I encourage you to strive to become a trusted advisor to an elected official just as you are for your customers.

As ordinary citizens, we can have an extraordinary influence on public policy. If we care sufficiently, we can help select the best possible elected officials and help them to be the best-informed leaders they can be. An added bonus is that it is personally rewarding to make and support a new friend and make our state a better place to live. Get out and be extraordinary.

Get Social and Share!

Sign Up to Receive this Publication in your inbox