Time to start walking the talk
By Leo Canty
Published: Thursday, January 28, 2010 12:08 PM EST
There are people who walk the walk and those who talk the talk. My favorites are the multitaskers who walk the talk. And they all can be found in politics — you’ve seen them everywhere.
Take Merrick Alpert. Alpert is walking the state — literally — to prove he can be a senator. Look around when you’re on the road and you’ll see him walking the walk. By doing so he hopes you’ll vote for him, or at least remember his name and why he’s walking.
Then there’s the talking the talk crowd. My favorite example is from soon-to-be ex-Gov Jodi Rell.In November 2008 the economy was headed down the toilet. People were really starting to feel the pain of the failing economy.
Rell called a meeting with state employee unions at Dinosaur State Park to offer ways that would help her crew of public servants to lose jobs, wages, and benefits like so many of the victims of Wall Street and the rest of the world.To soften the blow of the pending tough times Rell was prepared to put her workforce through, she talked the talk and offered the classic “I feel your pain” soliloquy. It was a moment I wish I had witnessed but have heard about many times: a heartfelt, empathetic expression of connection with the suffering of the masses.Rell understood tough times. Everyone was facing them — even her own family, all the way out in Colorado. The economic disaster was taking its toll and she knew how hard it was going to be to get through the mess. But working together, she told SEBAC leaders, we all can make it.
The governor went on to say that her pain was felt by her beloved daughter who, up until our looming depression, always had the wherewithal to purchase brand-name croutons for her salads, Pepperidge Farm croutons, to be exact. Times were so tough, daughter sadly relayed to mom in a phone-call back home, that she was forced to buy generic store-brand croutons at Safeway.
The SEBAC leaders gasped in horror. The talk was talked — kind of.
And the rest is history, as they say.
All downside drama aside, my favorites are those who talk a good game — like deep-thinking Journal Inquirer weekly columnists who really get it — and then put words into action by doing something about their subject lines. I like people whose moral compass and principled behaviors guide them in making our towns, state, and nation better places for all.
Even better: I like people who live their lives informing people about their own choices and empowering them to walk their own talk and build brighter futures for themselves and everyone else.I have been incredibly fortunate to have penned 35 weekly columns at the Journal Inquirer since June. As a labor leader and liberal Democratic political activist, I have had the ability to offer a weekly view on issues, something no other commercial paper in the U.S. offers to its readers. I commend the JI for its innovative embracing of that concept and hope you have had a good time with my 700 words every week.
Talking the talk is not enough for me, though. This will be my last column here so I can actually do a bit of walking — in the 15th House District, trying to inform and excite the electorate into being a part of the effort to make our state a better place to live, work, grow our families, and enjoy our idle years.My passion to walk my talk and make a difference is putting me smack dab into the middle of politics as a candidate and out of JI column writing.
One way or another, I’ll let you know what I learn.
And for all the victims of the meltdown suffering from generic crouton overdose: Let’s get to work fixing this economy.
Leo Canty is a labor and political activist. He lives in Windsor. All columns are posted on