June 14, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – “For the Children” Weekly Column
Contact: Joe Dorman, CEO – Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy
Telephone: (405) 833-1117
For the Children: A Weekly Column by Joe Dorman, CEO – OICA
The Dark and Difficult Road of Public Service
One never knows when they will be put in a spot to make a difference in the world. Far too many people make decisions out of convenience or by choice with the conclusion of not wanting to be involved.
A few others decide it is time to step up and do something that they feel is necessary or needed in their part of the world. Sometimes, these individuals are led to seek a political office.
When it comes to public service, I genuinely believe it is getting harder each day for people to make the sacrifices personally, especially with family, to run for office or serve in a position that is appointed or hired. I would argue that those people are the type we most need to serve.
The world today is much different and by appearances more hostile than even what I experienced in office a few short years ago. We are less than a year away from the filing period for state positions and with several term-limited retirements and those choosing not to run again, this is the time to start considering if you feel that you can best serve your community or your state by seeking such a position.
A key factor with service is the ability to work together and shape solutions. We see far too much bickering in every facet of public service when it comes to partisan politics. I prefer those who have the skill to work across the aisle and find the answers which can be crafted to help by “moving the needle” and not ramming something down the throat of their opponents.
My favorite movie is the Wind and the Lion, starring Sean Connery, Candice Bergen, John Huston, and Brian Keith. One quote from Keith, who portrays President Teddy Roosevelt, summarizes the respect one should have for the political opposition.
“Sometimes one finds that your enemies are a lot more admirable than your friends,” he said. “You pick the road to greatness, and you’ll have that choice someday. You come to realize that the road traveled by great men (and women) is dark and lonely and lit only at intervals by other great men (and women).
“And sometimes they’re your enemies. But they’re the only true luxury you have. Yes, it’s a dark and difficult road and I do not look down upon anyone who has the good sense not to take it.”
As he stated, every single one of us will have a choice at some point in our lives. Adults should be helping youth along that path by encouraging them. If called to public service, I hope you take the “path less taken” and choose solution-making. We need less hostility and more problem-solving.
One does not need to hold an office to make a difference. Darnella Frazier, who was only 17 when she recorded George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis last year, was recently awarded a special citation by the Pulitzer Board. Her action has led to a renewed conversation on how to handle race issues across the world. One person can change the world, even someone not old enough to vote.
Whatever role it might be, ranging from elected office to volunteering for a local nonprofit, we need those who can sacrifice that time and resources to see better role models for the children of this state. We desperately need leaders who are willing to make tough decisions for the greater good. If you decide that this is your calling to service, weigh that decision and be one of the leaders that we so desperately need.