Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Walking The Public Me, Private Me Line

Elected officials walk the line, all day, every day
Over the last month or so, I've had a heightened awareness of my potential influence as a public figure. Even 5 years into serving as an elected trustee for the Village of Lake in the Hills Board of Trustees, I am still often surprised by how blurry the line is between my public self and my private self.

Make no mistake, what you see is what you get. My public persona is so very closely tied to who I am in private. However, because of two recent hot current events in the US,  I've been forced to think about the line I walk and how it affects those in my sphere of influence.

First, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that has been sending waves across all media over the last few weeks. Of course, I've been "challenged" just like anyone else possibly reading this blog. I chose to quietly make a donation to ALS and not participate in a dousing, video or announcement of the such.

By the some of the commentary in various strings of my social media as well as evidenced in texts, calls or private messages, this was not a very popular move.

"You're a leader - why aren't you doing it?"

"People listen to you, don't you want to use your influence for good?"

Two of the many messages I got during my refusal to do the challenge.

Secondly, I was constantly questioned (publicly and privately)  in the aftermath of the controversial killing of Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager from Ferguson MO. Over the last two weeks since his death, I have made a handful of posts that generated oh, so many comments and debate. I am not going to post some of the the things people sent me privately about that, but I will say this.

Elected officials are people first.  We have feelings, thoughts and reactions - just as you do.

While I walk a line between my public persona and my private self - I am acutely aware that people are watching and listening. 99% of every month, I am representing just me and my own personal views. The 1% of every month (and that creeps to 5% depending on the issues we are facing) that I am serving the residents of the Village of Lake in the Hills, I represent, as best I can, the best interests of the 30,000 people who live in our borders.

That said, I am proud of my values and views. I don't shy away from much. However, I'm not particularly fond of cold water and my schedule has been very pressed as an entrepreneur this August.  Further,  I am completely exhausted by the heightened racial tensions we've experienced in the US since 2008. And that timing just so happens to coincide with my time as an elected official.

Forgive me if it appears that I am lacking interest in the two hottest topics sweeping our nation. Public and private Denise Barreto is indeed processing these and I am happy to have one-on-one conversations about this with anyone who reaches out. But don't creep my social media tabs looking for soundbites or video clips. There won't be much.

I'm too busy changing the world, one relationship at a time.

No comments:

Post a Comment