Tom Tresser

Illinois Institute of Technology

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Should artists, creatives and TEDsters run for local office?

Richard Florida and others have written about The Creative Class. Is there Creative Class consciousness? What do all TED talks and TED talkers and TED attendees have in common? Is it enough to trigger political participation? Are artists leaders - that is, do we (you) have a set of values, experiences and talents desperately needed in public life. Hell yes. If you are reading this, run for local office and bring those skills and values into government. Before it's too late.

Read my argument in a slim manifesto you can download for free from Lulu @

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    Jul 23 2011: Tom, that was indeed a nice post.
    Creativity is in people who are free to think about something new that wouuld help etc.
    You complimented all of us, and even had me feeling all warm n' fuzzy inside.

    I'd like to have my say in Congress or even as one of the local State Congressmen.
    I feel I'm not witty enough to speak on my feet in the face of a witty Heckeler.

    Tom, I hope you win and get some one of us to jump up and run! :)
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    Jul 23 2011: Somehow, our ignorant youth have grown far to comfortable with somebody taking care of them.
    We as elders put up with their screaming and kicking against the establishment that provided the Ignorant and misguided a platform for their antics.

    So....the Democrats, buying votes with the Taxpayers money, has provied Medecade for the peoplw who cannot pay, or at least SAY they cannot pay.
    That program is among many the Democrats bought votes with.
    We elders knew better, but did not speak out and the younger and poor in spirit voted for the Democrats.
    Now we are stuck in a rut of too many with thier hands out, and too few paying taxes.
    Most of the Votes go to the Democrats. The weak with their lack of Integrity and Responsibilty will stay on the hind Tit forever.

    The Mexicans cost us a lot more that most people realize.
    Think of the Border patrol, Medicade, Crime in the Cities, Drugs, Educaing their Anchor Babies on our Nickle, as well as the "what to do about Poncho" in all American cities and states where the Fed's refuse to re-imburse us for our costs in dealing with the Mexicans. The list goes on.

    Repeat offenders, revolving door prisons.
    The weak at heart think the rest of us are being cruel.
    Freedom is not Free. We have borders, and rules for a reason.
    Our rights to the persuit of Wealth, Health and Happiness are being drubbed by the weak at heart.
    Someone needs to 'harden up' and start the Mexicans rushing back to the land where Crime and Poverty rule.
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    Jul 22 2011: The only people who should run for office are comedians and historians. the subjects go hand in hand. there is no better humorist than history. i refuse to believe that warriors and philosophers make good goverments. these individuals would be the first to fail under their own command. thanks to the power they recieve from the voters they treat it as a cloak of impunity. voting only works for those it puts in power. the voter must have faith that the "official" believes in his values and standards and the "official" shams his way through campaigns and donations to convince voters he has their best interests at heart. socrates said a man will never do anything unwise or inurious to himself, yet the united states election and taxation process has proven wise men wrong.
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    Jul 14 2011: Annie we could spend a rousing evening around a Campfire. We almost agree on everything.
    I spent two minutes at the link watching popups etc before the article came up.
    Didn't like that.

    The writer actually said NOTHING!
    DId you read anything new or factual about the Illegals? Only history.

    We cannot afford Medical care for the illegals and their Children, when we cannot afford Medical care for the Old folks who paid taxes for Medicare all thier working lives.
    Is there some argument for the Illegals in that statment?

    Morals of Business people are not a problem, when the Restraints are there for the Lawbreakers.
    Business people make the best judges of a Budget. Not Liberals, Democrats or Socialists.

    You mentioned "Entitlements" . The DNC is using Medicare and SS as an Entitlement that needs to be cut.
    I started paying taxes in 1956.
    I paid my due into SS clear up till the 60's when they made it mandantory that we pay all year long.
    The Congress and The Senate spent our Tax dollars which put us into the debt problem we have today.

    If things were correctly handled, we'd go back and attach the earnings and holdings of all the Senators and Congressman who voted go pay out to the Welfare, Illegals, Druggies, etc. WIC is another example of people who made poor choices. Paying them off is the only way the Senate and Congress found to take the problem off thier backs.

    Who in America today would dare suggest we take from the Thieves, to pay down the Debt's they left us in?
    • Jul 23 2011: Mr Hopkins,

      I understand your sentiments concerning illegal immigrants - it is indeed disconcerting to know that as medicare coverage is likely to decrease for American citizens, more and more illegal immigrants pour into the country, further diffusing the available funding. However, I don't think you give the article posted a fair chance. The statistics it provides should instill the idea that the problem with these programs is not with the immigrants, it is with the programs themselves.

      In order for government funded healthcare to work, even in one program such as medicare, taxes need to be high. Healthcare is expensive, and as more and more of the population gets older, and problems such as metabolic syndrome become more prevalent, it will only get more expensive. Moreover, due to the rising amount of elderly people living longer, the money required for Medicare and social security is not obtained through the taxes American citizens pay. I understand your frustration at having payed taxes your whole life, only for the government to be talking about cuts to these programs. But the point is, illegal immigrants represent such a small percent of the total funds, that these programs would be failing with or without their presence. The problem is the program design itself, not the immigrants.

      As for programs such as welfare, I agree - simply paying money to these people, forcing them to live check by check, is not a long term solution. However, the social programs necessary to help these people support themselves are not in place, and likely will never receive the funding they need to be in place.
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      Jul 13 2011: Ah - but I'm not talking about propaganda or political art. I'm asking artists, change agents and TEDsters to run for local office and bring their creative skills and values into public life. BE the creative change agent you are in private and professional life IN public office. Think of all the knowledge and wisdom accumulated by TEDsters and what they share in their brief presentations. How are those insights going to get translated into public policy and public practice? One powerful way, I'm suggesting, is for TED to encourage its presenters and attendees/viewers to RUN FOR LOCAL OFFICE. Bring those stories and solutions into being at the local level for specific places.
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    Jul 13 2011: I think it's necessary to bring about to the human mind a radical revolution. Not just in the political man or in artist, but in the whole mankind. We should creates an ideal ambient, and through him, creativity will flourish. But the creativity just can flourished in a ambient without fear.
  • Jul 12 2011: Hi, Here in Minneota we have a former commedian servng as a senator. My i9nforjmation is that he is adapting rathewr well.
  • Jul 12 2011: It ismy opinion we need well prepared and qualified people to run or ofice so that we are able to use all of our native tallent and preclude limited ability citizens from getting elected. I also believe in tern limits!!!!!!!! Two terms for a senator and three for a representative. In my opinion there are many qualified citizens who would do a good job but will not run as they guard their privacy and do not want their personal life broadcast in the news media.
    Auf Wiedersehen/Tack sa Myket. I do not know any creative types which would qualify and want to be involved.
    Sorry, Duane
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    Jul 8 2011: The Current elected group does not believe in: "Of the people, by the People and for the People".
    The DNC is activly trying to control the U.S. Citizenry by Hook or by Crook.

    One thing that would put a stop to the Political Checanery would be Impechment and Trial by jury.
    Why Americans are so apathetic to the Pol's is the real problem. That attitude will allow the DNC and the Liberal press to succeed.

    Those who will not be self Goverened, will be Governed by others. A bunch of lazy minded sick puppies out there, ignoring the facts and the Voting booth.
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    Jul 8 2011: We should all know by now, that Lawyers are the very Last persons to put into public office.
    Artists ect may not be much better. Businessmen, Capitalists, would make the best politicians.
    I take too long to think things over. I like succesful business people. No Liberals or Socialist of any ilk.
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      Jul 8 2011: Another way to approach the issue of "Who should serve?" might be to ask what sorts of values and skills do we need from our elected officials. Take a look at Studio Thinking at Project Zero at Harvard - where Howard Gardner has been researching creativity and multiple intelligences for decades. and the "Eight Habits of Mind" - This is along the lines of Design Thinking that some business and design schools are advocating for business success. Remember the old saw attributed to Einstein - "You can't solve the problems of the world with the same mindset that created them." I think we need new thinking, new ways on BEING from our leaders - in business and politics. The current crop have taken us to the edge of financial and environmental melt-down.
    • Jul 13 2011: I can't quite condone judging every liberal or socialist as inept at business right off the bat. Yes, a lot of our liberal politicians and other leaders have truly screwed things up. That doesn't mean that they're all inept, though. This would be a lot more stable post if I could think of some good ones, but none come to mind right now. Maybe that's telling, but hey, I like to pretend optimism.
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        Jul 13 2011: I was in business 35 years. Learning Capitalisim at the feet of the Masters.
        Think of the leaders we want and need, as people who realize where the Tax Dollars come from. Cater to the Tax Payers.

        Tax payers, Capitalists, are People who put other people to work. That is the strength of a productive, Free, econmy.

        Then, there are the Liberals and Socialists who would spend us broke, buying votes from the underachievers by spending our Tax Dollars on the un-employable, underemployable and the downright poor in mind that made the wrong choices in life.
        Buying those Democrat votes with Tax dollars and using the "Straw man" of the "Filthy Rich" as a whipping boy to gain favor with the underachievers.

        Certainly there is some Tax Dollars for the totally inept as in 'Born with problems' but not a penny for the illegals and the ones who made bad choices.

        IMHO this would be the "Skill set" for the "Who Shall Serve" questions.
        Next, Definate penalties for Liars as a 'First rule' the "Who Shall Serve" applicants.

        You can see now if we had Integrity and Responsibility in any public official since Harry S Truman, we'd not be in the Trouble we are in now.
        • Jul 13 2011: Mr. Hopkins, I completely agree with you that responsibility and integrity have been lacking in many of our public officials, that deficit spending on entitlement is beyond out of control, and that our economy isn't capitalizing on some of its greatest strengths. However, I'm not sure that simply advocating putting people with business backgrounds in positions of power in governance is the only or the best solution.

          Just looking at the economic crisis, I can't see that people notable for their success in business are particularly notable for their morals. The rise of corporate culture in government is also concerning to me; while in certain corporations there is an Atlas Shrugged-style spirit of innovation, productivity, and justice, in many others, there is also a malaise of red-tape bureaucracy and greed--for a concrete example, look at Transocean's refusal to acknowledge any kind of wrongdoing or help with the cleanup following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Do we want a government that can't admit its mistakes--even when they have cost lives and livelihoods--for fear that it might have to spend money?

          Perhaps the point we can both agree on, however, is that there should be more TEDsters in positions of governmental power?
        • Jul 13 2011: Also, to address your point about illegal immigrants, I read this brief editorial from Bloomberg Businessweek a few days ago--you may not agree with it, but I found it very thought-provoking!

  • Jul 7 2011: Yes We need creatrive thinking people in our legislative bodies who can see into the future and make decisions to improve our lot in life.
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      Jul 7 2011: Do you know of any artists or creative professionals or change agents who have run for local office? Please post their name and website or contact info.
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      Jul 7 2011: Excellent point! I have organized and facilitated a number of workshops and training sessions for creative professionals who want to lead in public life - including running for local office. We discuss framing messages, creative ways to organize and creative ways to raise funds. Bottom line - artists and creative professionals have many skills and values we desperately need in public life. They need to be convinced of this and then helped to act on those leadership assets. The TED conferences could all include a "call to action" and a mini-session on how to translate your creative accomplishments into a winning resume for public office.