While speaking to the Chief of Staff of a political party in another state, we were talking about how hard it was to get anything done through policy, especially if it was done through the party opposite of hers. She said that she has been working on all sorts of legislative policy for over 40 years and she said it used to be much easier. She said that, although there were philosophical differences, there was a sense of doing good for everyone involved, or as she called it, “the greater good.” She said now it was different. She said that it was almost impossible for one party to cross the aisle even if it meant for a change that would benefit the constituents that they serve.
There was another instance where there was a group plan on how to take on the marijuana industry but there was one person who wanted to take the plan in a different direction, much to the frustration of the others in the group. After a discussion on why the plan was the best option, the single person decided to quit the group because they would not follow his idea.
As we think about the advocacy work that we do, we much think about partnering with those who have possibly been on another side in the past. I think of a lady that many of you might know, Karen Murray, who once led a coalition in Butler County. They were having some tough times with underage drinking in her college town and she had done many things to try to bring those rates down. Instead of giving up or doing things that had not worked in the past, she went to the bar owners and talked to them about being more diligent about checking ID’s and being a part of the solution.
I know that many of you have found yourselves in alliances with those who might have been considered your enemy in the past. For the greater good, there are opportunities to work with those whom we would have never thought we would work with. We must also make sure that, for public health, we are willing to think outside the box to make sure that our ultimate goal of protecting public health. For the greater good, there are opportunities and, although they might not seem to be a partner now, there are times that we can all work together to protect our communities from those things that plague our citizens.
Drug Free Action Alliance
June 9, 2017