Keller @ Large: Have Your Local Politician Over For Dinner
BOSTON (CBS) – When we get angry and frustrated with our political leaders, it’s usually because they’ve fallen out of touch with us and the day-to-day struggles we face. This is a big-time problem with our big-time pols. The bigger the pol, the bigger the problem.
Listen to Jon’s commentary:
Governors ride around in the back of their state vehicles, immune from the agony of commuters; when they do mix with regular folks, they often mistake the intimidating effect of their security escort for a lack of critical feedback from onlookers.
As I’ve mentioned before, members of Congress buzz around in their Capitol Hill beehive through underground tunnels that keep them warm, dry, and totally removed from the real world.
And the presidency? A unique blend of solitary confinement with around-the-clock surveillance.
Wouldn’t it be better to have more unscripted, natural interaction between politicians and the people?
I promise to praise the first major pol who puts on disguises and spends at least a couple of days a month riding the subway or hanging out in coffee shops, eavesdropping and experiencing life the way the rest of us do.
And there’s no reason why our leaders – up to and including the president – couldn’t follow the example of Mayor Joe Curtatone of Somerville, who has begun a new program called MIMBY – Mayor In My Backyard – in which residents have him and a few neighbors over for dinner and a nice heart-to-heart chat.
Curtatone says it opens him up “to ideas that residents have, and you don’t get that in the office; it’s from being out and talking to constituents.”
For higher-level pols who have let their lofty positions go to their heads, I would add an extra wrinkle – after dinner, the pol has to do the dishes, take out the trash, and while they’re at it, take the dog for a walk.
And don’t forget to pick up after Fido.
That’ll be good practice for dealing with the legislative process.
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.