I created a website.
Everyone (that’s with a capital “E”) said that I should do it in order to increase sales of my books. For a while I fought the idea. Somehow it seemed so patently egotistical.
But Vistaprint offered a free trial (and we all know how those work out!) for a month, as well as step-by-step guidance in constructing the pages. It was a “sign” that it was time.
So I embarked on the task of establishing a site. It was easier than I’d thought. Vistaprint did a good job of breaking down the task and directing the neophyte. I have to admit, I had a good time doing it.
When I’d finished, I sat back and admired my work (doing stuff like this does tend to be a bit egotistical). And being able to take a breather now, I tried to dissect my motives. Why had I gone to all this trouble?
Why, to increase book sales, I slyly answered myself.
Humph! I replied. Why, when you take into account the cost of maintaining the site, you’ll have to sell about a hundred books a year to make up what you’ve spent. C’mon. Why did you do this?
Urged on by my carping superego, I delved deeper into my motives.
Perhaps it was egotistical. Maybe I was trying to extend my fifteen minutes to half an hour. Like wearing a red ball gown to a dance where all others my age were wearing pastels (how many of you get the reference?), or sitting in the front row of the classroom to catch the eye of the handsome young professor.
Then I considered the pains I’d taken to link the site to this blog. I want people to read my postings, and not just (I hope) for reasons of vanity. Some of the ideas I write about are important, and could generate discussion. If readers look at me for that reason, I feel I’ve accomplished something.
Which brings us, as these musings often do, to politics.
Why are our current crop of candidates expending their energy and money trying to get elected?
I believe you have to have a pretty strong sense of self in order to run for office. Otherwise, the arguments against what you believe in and negative advertising would be devastating. So is it simply self-aggrandizement that spurs on our would-be leaders?
I hope not. We don’t need people who only want to preen and posture in the spotlight. We need those who have the smarts to understand what’s going on and make decisions that will solve, not worsen, the problems.
Like climate change. And drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And the problem of national debt. And poverty, access to quality health care, international relations.
We can’t afford battling egos. We also can’t afford a plutocracy in which money, controlling communication, decides elections. I know we’ve seen the “dumbing down” of America, but I can’t help believe that can be reversed.
We need leaders who won’t talk down to the electorate, who will make the decisions that need to be made and explain the reasons for those choices. As a teacher I learned that youngsters can rise to levels of expectations. They can finish the school year with a better handle on the world than they started with.
But in order to do that, you can’t just “strut and fret your hour upon the stage.”
You have to lead.