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Change just for change's sake?

June 19, 2017 at 6:21 p.m.
Updated June 20, 2017 at 6 a.m.

Pat Tally

Pat Tally

Pat Tally - Guest Column

There are some phrases you once heard, snippets, that stick with you and cross your mind repeatedly as you go through life.

It could be part of a conversation, a mental picture of a cherished time, or sometimes just a phrase.

Of all the millions of minutiae that make up a life, your brain picks some to remain readily accessible in times of stress or contemplation. Those brief connections seem to form your outlook on life.

One of those phrases, for me, is a cautionary one, a concern for damage that could be done if I just embraced "change for change's sake."

My dad used the phrase to throw cold water on my teenage excitement over John F. Kennedy and the bright young men who had defeated Eisenhower's colorless man, Nixon, in 1960.

Dad, a career diplomat, was afraid the pressure to live up to campaign rhetoric would result in these inexperienced young men making premature decisions without due consideration of the full effect on our country and our future. After all, no one comes into the presidency knowing how everything works, so seasoned advisors and expert briefings should be the norm. Once you know how things work, your changes can be planned and be successful.

Changing things on impulse, just because you can, does not sit well with people who grew up hearing, "Don't throw out the baby with the bath water." I took that cautionary phrase to heart.

Summer - with schools closed, vacation and day trips to the beach - is often the time we initiate changes in our lives. This summer, many of us will be heading off to new experiences, college, new jobs, and, like me, new houses. Though I will move into a new address in July, I have been planning for this change for months.

I analyzed the options available, I explored neighborhoods to the point of concerning homeowners, I found an expert realtor and I toured many nice houses.

The pros and cons of the move itself, my physical needs, the impact on my lifestyle and the effect on my finances were considered and discussed with advisors, family and friends. My goal was to make the best decision for the future quality of life of all involved.

Also this summer, a young family member is trying to launch a career move, reading up on locations, company mission statements and wordsmithing applications, resumes and essays. We discussed her dreams and perceptions, used Google and online templates and struggled with how to sell yourself while still being realistic about your skills and abilities.

Again, the goal is for her to make the best decision to achieve the future she wants.

Yet another example of the changes being contemplated this summer is that of people who are contemplating running for public office in 2018. You can imagine that this is not a step taken lightly these days. People are searching their belief systems and researching the election process. They are meeting with the elders in their lives to gather information about what impact this decision will have on them.

I have been impressed with the amount of soul- searching, reading and information gathering that goes into this personal and yet public decision. Being any kind of politician today takes a fortitude unheard of in the past.

The commitment of time, money and emotions is huge. Family members, friends and fortunes can be lost along the way - not to mention time with your kids and your hobbies. These families are planning extensively so that they can meet their desire to serve their community while preserving as much of their current quality of life as possible.

Watching the current administration flying by the seat of their inexperienced pants, I am in disbelief. How do you run for office and not have people in place, not laid groundwork, not have researched protocols and not have foreseen the effects of their decisions?

Change for change's sake has morphed into destruction for destruction's sake. The President has thumbed his nose at all of America, especially those who put him in office. His approach has been - if America wants to preserve this, let's destroy it. If America wants to continue this program, let's discontinue it. If America holds these truths, let's try Russia's.

Reason, research and desired results seem to be missing when change is fueled by impulsivity. Given how much you or I prepare to face a new situation, why did our current President, No. 45, not care enough to do the same?

Pat Tally is the chairwoman of the Victoria County Democratic Party. Before retiring to Victoria, she was the director of a clinical social work department in a large Dallas hospital system for 22 years. She may be emailed at pattally@outlook.com.


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