Relevant is defined as being closely connected or appropriate to what is being done or considered. People want to be relevant. Organizations want to be relevant. If they aren’t relevant, then they believe they have little or no influence in what is going on. In politics, relevance is coveted like a tiger after a raw steak. People and organizations involved in politics willingly sacrifice their values, convictions, and honor on the altar of relevance. To not be relevant means they can’t effect any change or be involved in policy, but is that true? Three thoughts on relevance:
First, truth should be the ultimate goal, not relevance. Sadly too many people fail because they will either not work with those that disagree with them or they fail to use persuasive skills to convince others of the merits of their argument. When their position is rebuffed, they make themselves irrelevant by isolating themselves and placing themselves on the throne of self-righteousness. They whine instead of engaging. They plead martyrdom. A true warrior doesn’t worry about relevance- they stay focused on the battle. They don’t curse the darkness- they light a candle.
General Stonewall Jackson famously said: “The battle is ours-the outcome is Gods’.”
Second, real relevance is derived from years of proven performance. In every election cycle, various political groups pop up advocating for a particular policy. They are often effective for that cycle, but their relevance quickly fades. Their short shelf life relevance appeals to low-information, infrequent voters because they haven’t taken time to study issues. These groups are more about the marketing than meticulousness. True relevance requires years of consistent investment in time, talent and treasure.
Third, who determines relevance in politics? It is not political Party leadership, elected officials, pollsters and big donors that determine who and what is relevant in politics. Voters do. There are so many low information voters in America, relevance in politics has derailed authenticity. If long term change is the true goal, educating voters on policy and their government should be paramount. Teaching citizens about their government and the issues and policies that affect their lives is critical if our country is to survive.
Relevance that effects long-term change flows out of tenacious, purposeful, persistent hard work. It is consistent and doesn’t get distracted. It’s not flashy or self-promoting, but it is enthusiastic. It walks the walk. It is rooted in truth. Sadly, few are willing to commit to the battle that ultimately leads to relevance and that is why the US is in the shape it is in.
Winston Churchill said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
The long term relevant often fail, but they continue the journey. They don’t quit because their goal is truth, not fleeting relevance. Don’t you think it is time you got engaged in your government — for your children and grandchildren’s sake?