I came across this quote today on a friend's Facebook page and took an instant liking:
It's a great statement that matches my beliefs.  But, it requires explanation in a political context.  We all appreciate the "doer," but we're a little bit suspicious of dreamers.  We associate the latter with unrealistic ideals, and we sure don't want those folks in positions of leadership.

Doers accept responsibility, like President Harry Truman saying:  "The buck stops here."  I'm also reminded of George Busbee, who campaigned successfully to become Georgia's Governor with the slogan:  "He's a work horse, not a show horse."  Doers put substance over style.  They roll up their sleeves and get things done.

Dreamers, on the other hand, are "pie in the sky," shooting for the ideal and missing the practical solutions at hand.

But, I like this quote, because it pairs two apparent opposites into something much stronger and closer to what's needed in most situations.  Dreams without action accomplish nothing.  But to have meaning, actions need something more as well.

If dreams are a little too abstract, call it imagination.  In a leadership context, we often boil it down even more -- to something called "vision."

Vision is good, actions are good, but it's vision put into action that really matters.  Without a vision and a plan to guide us, actions are reactions.  And, that's a recipe for going nowhere -- or at least to have no control over where we are going.

The City of Covington put new zoning ordinances in place several years ago based on the carefully crafted, community-endorsed vision of a livable community with walkable city centers, live-work-play development, and consistent building design standards.  Earlier this year, my opponent championed the undoing of a major element of those ordinances by proposing a weakening of the sign ordinance.  And, unfortunately, those changes were passed.

This is not a question of whose standards are right when it comes to signs.  The problem is that this was a reactive response, based on a single question from one constituent, and it led to a major undoing of the ordinance in place.  It was a legitimate question that needed to be handled, but the council never looked back to understand the vision, the strategy, or the plan behind the existing ordinances when deciding to change them.

If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there.  But, in this case, we knew where we were going and had spent great time, energy, and money building the road to get us there.  Then, some one just forgot.

When I talk about thoughtful leadership and responsible action, I'm talking about something better than how the sign ordinance changes were handled.


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