Wednesday, June 08, 2005


We're moving, shortly. We'll be spending the summer in a tent, while building a new house, so tents are on my mind. There are many kinds of tents, in many shapes and sizes. There are the ones you use for car-camping in good weather, and the ones you use for climbing Mt. Everest in heavy snows. There are little tiny ones for one, and there are big tents.

Big tents can hold more people and more stuff. Due to their size, they need more than a couple of poles to hold them up. When you need a big tent, and you need all your stuff to fit into it, the number and placement of the poles - and their strength - become important.

In politics, as in life, sometimes you need to think about big tents. A big tent can hold more people. More people means more votes. More votes means more victories.

These days, there are many who call for the big tent, but use the "big tent" concept as a hammer. Over and over again, you hear "If you don't vote for this candidate who is actively working against one or more of your core values, you're selfish (or stupid, or whatever), because it means the bad guy will win. We can deal with your issue later, it's not that important right now."

A big tent needs poles. It needs to allow all of the participants to stand tall and proud. Every section of the tent needs support:

Pulling out some of the poles, leaving whole sections of people hidden and suffocating beneath the heavy, unsupported cloth is worse than telling them to get out of the tent. Blaming them for refusing to stay hidden and stifled won't solve the problems that a big tent is intended to solve.

If you want to win, don't forget the poles.


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