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Ray Vinham stands
up to a light round of applause and delivers his campaign speech to the
Westover Leadership Coalition. It is the evening he has waited for since the
day he joined the civic group. From that first meeting, he had known that his
being president was critical if the club were to get out of its rut. He revels
in the knowledge that his day has finally come.

“Thank you
for the opportunity to tell you about my qualifications as they relate to the
important work of our organization. I have been in this club for six years and
have seen examples of success and examples of failure. I have learned from that
experience and now stand before you to ask for your support in applying my
experience to the problems and challenges lying ahead.

“I have seen
us flounder from reliance on recycled projects and repetition of the past. I
pledge to you a new vision not shackled by the temptation to look back when we
need to look ahead. My presidency will bring a new motivation, a new energy, a
plan that moves us eagerly into the future.

“You have my
word, my personal commitment that I will give 100 percent to the progress of
our club. I will not stoop to the level of petty bickering and self-serving
arguments, to the level of individual interests, and to the pressure of
divisive factions. Your president will stand above the commonplace and ahead of
those who would hold us back. I will be the leader of all our members.

“I make my
personal pledge to each of you to tell all without holding back. I will bring
every issue to you and pledge not to participate in the good-old-boy network. I
will strive to be seen as your leader and not as just one of the boys.

“What should
the goals of our fellowship be? I have struggled with the answer and am struck
by its simplicity. I need only look at my goals, my interests, my aspirations.
Ray Vinham is an example of, a personification of, the body of our shared
ambitions, our collective will. This is not self-serving or arrogant. I know
those who know me will see I only intend for our venture into tomorrow to
center on those dreams we all share. I only want what we all have worked for
over the years.

“I also
pledge to you I will not stretch for your support by giving a false impression.
Ray Vinham will be your president. This is an important job that cannot be
honored by washing dishes, by knocking on doors, by trying to outdo the hard
work of our valued members. Your president’s place is at the leading edge of
planning and assuring our success with the largest project, with the smallest

“Let me close
by sharing with you the heart of my campaign. I will work twenty-four hours a
day, every day, to be the standard by which leadership may be judged. I will
use my position of leadership as a vantage point from which to bring to each of
you the best.

“I ask for
your support, for your vote.”

Once Ray finishes,
it is time for Bud Smith to give his campaign speech. He stands up, stretches
and slowly looks around the meeting room. Somewhat haltingly, he starts.
“Ray, that was a fine speech. You are a qualified man.”

Looking several
members directly in the eye, Bud continues, “I can sure see why you would
want to vote for Ray. It’s a little monkey-see, monkey-do, but I think I would
do a good job too. Whoever wins, I’m behind him and for whatever you feel is
best for the club. All things considered, I still think I will vote for
me.” Bud is almost seated when he adds, “Oh by the way, I guess I
will still wash dishes whatever you decide.”

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