Remember the old saying "You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar"? The reality of that bit of sage advice has been made so real to me in the sixteen years I've been in public office.
In this age of Facebook, blogging, Twitter, and all sorts of social media, it has become apparent to me how many people fail to heed that bit of wisdom.
It's amazing to me really. I mean, it seems to be pretty basic stuff. When you are nice to somebody and make friends with them, it certainly is much more likely that the person will listen carefully to you, want to work with you, and possibly be swayed by your opinion, isn't it? On the other hand, saying nasty things about them would seem to be a pretty sure way to lose any influence they might have had on you, right? Am I the only one who sees this?
I've had to develop a pretty thick skin being in public office all these years. But still, when I receive a letter, an email, or read a posting on social media that calls me an idiot, a dope, or implies that I'm untrustworthy or untruthful, it hurts. (And I have seen all those) Because I'm really none of those things, and because I've tried very hard to live a life of integrity. But to be completely honest I will say I also tend not to listen to much else that person might say. After all, clearly they are willing to throw accusations around without basis, so how trustworthy are they? They certainly aren't nice people. And how likely am I to pay much attention to anything else they have to say? As someone in office it's my job to take the jabs and still be responsive to all my constituents. But those who use a little kindness are much easier to help.
Well, honey seems to be in short supply these days. And so does common sense and decency.