I know I didn't hear about this, but thanks to Matt at Blogs for Bush, it's out there for all to see. You think these soldiers won't be writing their families and friends to tell them the POTUS came to their plane?
It will have the same effect as seeing the President handing out ice and bottled water to people in hurricane ravaged areas of Florida. Are you going to turn down badly needed ice and water if the president is handing it to you? Even if you can't tolerate the man? I would think it would put an entirely different face on your feelings.
Those soldiers will remember who came to their plane, they will write their friends and families because it was one of the biggest moments of their lives. When those soldiers go to fill out their absentee ballots, when their friends and families vote on Election Day, a few more votes will go to the POTUS for the simple act of greeting them and thanking them for their service. On Election Day, whose face do you think the voters in Florida will remember? The man who handed them ice and water or the man who didn't?
There are people who will see both incidents as vote getting stunts. In my personal opinion, that just happens to be a side benefit for Bush. I believe he honestly wanted to help in Florida, and wanted to express his pride and gratitude to the military. It shows character.
And it is all about character.
Every few months, we have a graduation/transition ceremony for a platoon at Boot Camp. They've worked for six months and have finally reached all their goals. They can graduate and return to their families and friends. Hopefully, with the tools that will keep them out crime-free. One of my duties is to meet and greet at the gate, direct people to the area where the drill ceremonies will take place and to take names of the VIPs that attend so that they can be recognized at the indoor ceremonies. I've debated for some time about trying to get out of this duty. It takes a couple of hours out of my day and I'm not doing something that someone else can't do.
I started thinking about it though. I get seen by people who know me, but because they don't see me very often, don't think about me. Usually, this is a good thing. I'm not looking for promotion, so I'm not concerned about "being seen" for that reason. It dawned on me, that because I've been around so long, I'm known. We're on the list to get a new copy machine. When the copy machines are purchased and the major in charge is determining who needs the newest equipment, because he has recently seen me (and actually likes me, or at least has nothing against me), my section has a chance of going higher on the list than someone he doesn't know. I've been around long enough to know how the game is played. It's not necessarily because you need this piece of equipment, you get it because of who you know, or who knows you.
I seldom have the chance to use my seniority or my connections, but when I can, you bet I do. Working in government is no different whether you work on the county level or the federal level. It's who you know, and sometimes what you know about them. Is it right? Sometimes it's the only way. And who among us won't use connections? Have you ever taken a fundraising brochure into your workplace to sell for your child's school or function? I'll bet every parent has. Guess what? You are using your connections on behalf of your child. Ever had a friend fix you up with a friend? Connection usage! How about jobs? Anyone ever tell you they'd put in a good word with so-and-so if you applied for a job. There it is again...connections!
I'm mentioning this because of the flap about President Bush perhaps using connections to get into the National Guard. I don't care if he had connections get him into the Guard. I'm more concerned with what he did after he got in. And I'm much more concerned with what he's done in the last 4 years. I also feel the same way about Kerry. I really don't care what he did 35 years ago. I'm more concerned about what he's done in the 20 years he's been in the Senate.
As my Dad used to say: Connections will get you there. It's up to you what happens after you get there.