Telling and retelling war stories has been a favorite pastime throughout the history of man. The fantasies of Baron Munchausen or the crazed illusions of Don Quixote also serve to expand our own capacity to conquer the unreal. Any person can become a hero in the safety of the barracks, and many do.
Listening to such tales of questionable glory or bravado reveals a characteristic common to all of them. When speaking of an adversary, the barracks warrior seldom, if ever, admits to fear and shows little or no respect for the opponent.
This is in stark contrast to the person in the trenches who views the enemy with a large measure of fear and respect. In the trenches, the enemy looms as a force that can do great harm. To perceive otherwise can be fatal, and the true warrior knows it.
Such phenomena are not limited to the field of battle. They exist in all competitive dimensions of life. Many a sale has been lost because a salesperson underestimated the competition.
In the same way, legislative issues constantly get out of hand when opposing views are dismissed as being without merit and, therefore, unworthy of proper consideration. Also, undesirable candidates often succeed in their quest for public office because the guys in the barracks are tilting at windmills instead of being where the action is.
The number of people who can be on the front line of any legislative contest is limited. Moreover, only those who fully understand both the issues and the opposition, and who are willing to work as a team, harnessing their individual dedication into a collective effort, can effectively further the cause.
Armchair generals who offer advice without an understanding of the issues and who fail to back their views with time or financial support are no more useful than barracks warriors.
However, through the medium of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors Political Action Committee (NAIFAPAC), all of us can, and should, be part of the action. Though we can’t all be on the front line, we can at least lend valuable support to the people who are.
NAIFAPAC does not lobby–NAIFA does. Instead, it provides financial support to candidates who are less likely to provoke a legislative contest, or who will be supportive when others throw bombshells at our business. It also does not try to buy votes. Given the millions of dollars being poured into legislative races today, it is not likely that a $10,000 or $20,000 contribution from a single PAC will sway a vote one way or the other. Rather, the hope is that our participation will open doors and give us an opportunity to present our views. Because those same doors will be open to other interests, it is very important that our facts are correct and persuasive and best represent our business and our policyholders.