If your whole goal in life is to end hunger, end poverty, bring world peace, create government health care, cut Medicaid spending— what happens if you win?
Watching politics and the news, you see so many people on a mission. They espouse a political ideology that could never be achieved. Conservatives want to get rid of social welfare. Leftists want full government health care. Advocates have lofty goals regardless of their locus on the political landscape.
But to me, many of the people behind those ideas and movements are aware that ultimately they will never win. And they don’t care. It’s easy to sit in the back of the room and yell out your point of view knowing that you’ll never get called to the front. The method is effective however, in attracting followers.
What do you do though, when you get in? What happens when the bat boy is called to the plate? Are the advocates really prepared?
People can tout profound, extreme ideas when it will take extreme measures to implement. In some cases, when the idealogue does get his or her chance, they discover that it’s a bit more of a battle to exact real change. They have to compromise, mold their plan, negotiate and shift. They become stuck with a choice— bend and win or stiffen and lose. You bend, you lose credibility. You stiffen, you fail to realize your goal.
So what happens? They end up planting their feet in the back and continue screaming. This way, they’re beyond reproach and satisfy their ardent followers. Advocates can keep their street cred by taking daily doses of potshots.
True courage, true conviction, true heroism comes through flexibility and the sense to know when and how to pursue their objective. That takes compromise, which means accepting the fact that only a shell of your idea might ever see the light of day. Effectively, sparking change becomes the more important goal.
So many want to serve, but few want to sacrifice.