Election 2012: Great expectations

By Karen Dumas

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As we countdown to the Primary Election, ClickOnDetroit.com is excited to welcome community leaders to write columns about issues they feel passionately about.

With apologies to Charles Dickens, I believe the election of a President here in the United States has redefined expectations well beyond the realm of reality. From global challenges to everyday disputes, it seems that the leader of this free world is expected to resolve those issues in their entirety…and immediately.

My assumption was that government—at all levels—was to create order and opportunity. Centuries later, I am not so sure we have either, but the rest of what makes up our daily lives—like preparation and competitiveness-was left to the individual and their application of free will and personal choice. Yet, it seems that while citizens don't want their rights infringed upon, they still expect the negative impact of those decisions to be resolved by their elected officials.

They want to smoke without bearing the burden of any health complications that may result; ride motorcycles without helmets under the same premise; drive high fuel consumption vehicles while complaining about the environment, and criticize officials who were elected in a process in which too few participated.  And when their choices have negative consequences, they expect government to fix the problem.

This election—like all of them—should hinge on the balance of realistic expectations from government and self. No one can erase the deficit, fix healthcare, impose fair trade, eliminate every tax burden, find jobs for everyone, and save corporations and citizens— from themselves and each other; Even if they promised to do so.  We are kidding ourselves if we believe that people like you and me bear no responsibility for helping to address these problems.

The lack of understanding that change is a process and requires active participation on several levels is a hindrance in the selection and election of any official, but even greater for the Head-of-State. He (or she) must walk a thin and delicate line of offering reassurance to a varied constituency, play politics without exploitation, and deliver what is truly in the best interest of the masses, even when they don't recognize or agree with it. Party notwithstanding, we'd be foolish to expect anything more.

About the author:

Karen Dumas is a communications professional/media personality/public speaker committed to excellence, entrepreneurship and equality.  She is also the former Chief of Communications & External Affairs for Mayor Dave Bing and the City of Detroit.

Dumas attracted readers, listeners and viewers and garnered respect as a trusted and fair radio & television personality and columnist. Frequently referred to as "honest and engaging", HOUR Detroit recognized her radio show as the "the more intelligent choice" for listeners. As founder of her own PR firm, Images & Ideas, Inc., she earned a reputation as a communications specialist known for performance and perfection.

She serves on the Communication Committee for the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, the Arts League of Michigan, and the Editorial Advisory Board for BLAC Magazine, and previously on the PR committee for the NCAA Final Four/Detroit, among many others. The City of Detroit, State of Michigan, Real Times Media, and several Who's Who entities have recognized her achievements.

She is a frequent guest speaker at schools, churches and professional organizations seeking insight into performance based practices, the tools for success, living and treating others with fairness, women's challenges in the workplace, and balancing professional and personal roles. Her professional but entertaining demeanor enhances any event or organized gathering; her presentations are informative and inspirational for all.

Dumas graduated from East Catholic High School, and Michigan State University where she received a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University. She is also the published author of, "In Other Words: A Collection of Thoughts & Columns."  She and her husband reside in Detroit with their two children.

For more information, visit www.KarenDumas.com and www.imagesandideasinc.com

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